These are the first words Jesus speaks at the beginning of John’s Gospel. They are directed to not only these two disciples of John the Baptist, but to all of us.
As our new Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Meuggenborg shared in his book Come Follow Me, “First words are important words.”
Jesus asks, “What are you looking for?” This question is posed to the eventual Apostle Andrew and an unnamed person some scholars believe is the beloved disciple John (author of this Gospel).
“What are you looking for?”
Why do we come to Mass? Are we here because it’s an obligation? Or are we here to grow deeper in our relationship with Christ and better hear his voice urging us to serve others and Him.
Are we open to deepening our understanding of what Christ is teaching us or do we have it all figured out?
“What are you looking for?”
Jesus speaks these provocative words for a reason. He wants us to reflect on why faith is important in our lives and to learn how to better share our witness with the world.
After spending a short time with the one John the Baptist called “the Lamb of God,” Andrew is so excited about what he’s found he can’t wait to share the good news with his brother Simon Peter and bring him to Jesus.
Bishop Mueggenborg says, “The story of the first disciples is not complete until we are told they go out and introduce others to Jesus… The Gospel of John is trying to tell us that discipleship necessarily involves missionary outreach to others inviting them to share in the relationship we have with the Lord.”
|The Calling of Andrew and Peter - Caravaggio|
This is an invitation to an even greater journey. When we follow Jesus, we learn to follow him everywhere. We follow him to hospital rooms and to prisons, to the homeless on the streets and to the poor in faraway lands. We follow Jesus to where ever he calls us to follow him, and “Come … and see.”
And this isn’t always a comfortable place. But he always calls us to deepen our understanding and awareness of Him as we serve our neighbors, no matter who they are.
This is not a place of opinions about what we think about people and how they live their lives, but a place where love and mercy can blossom, a place where others can find Christ.
We were blessed to see these transformations in understanding and awareness in our young people and older parishioners who spent time in the poorest parts of Guatemala in the summer of 2015.
We built houses, built stoves, built roads and left behind thousands of dollars donated by each and every one of you to contract local carpenters and artisans to finish the work started by our parishioners.
In addition, we learned from the women of the village how to do laundry the old fashioned way with water and wash board. We learned how to carry large, heavy bundles of firewood sticks using our foreheads and our backs. We even were invited to play our new friends in a fun game of soccer and held our own thanks to the athletic talents of current medical student and parishioner Elizabeth Reed who served as our goalie. In each of these experiences, we built relationships with the people of the community. And most importantly we walked in their shoes.
If you care to hear about these transformational experiences, I suggest you talk to Liz or parishioners Brian Thomas and his granddaughter Gabriel. We all experienced something amazing and it deepened our relationship with Christ as we entered into relationship with those living on the margins. These missionaries listened to His words to, “Come, and … see.” We will listen to His words again this summer as our parish heads to Haiti.
We are blessed to see these transformations in understanding and awareness in the many parishioners who join us each week on the streets of Snohomish County as we build relationships, provide the ministry of presence, and serve the medical, mental health and spiritual needs of our sisters and brothers experiencing homelessness.
These doctors, nurses, mental health counselors, social workers, and spiritual care servants are following Jesus’ call, and invitation to “Come, and … see.”
Our team has been described by Everett city officials as an “integral part” of the effort to respond to the homelessness crisis. We were even shown as a model of giving responsibly in a recent video unveiled by the City’s Safe Streets initiative just before the Christmas holiday.
Led by Jesus each week, our team is building medical and mental health clinics in places where wounded souls gather, and spiritually ministering to our neighbors on the streets in desperate need of a relationship with Jesus.
If you want to hear more about how Jesus is made manifest in our efforts, please to talk with (Judy and Dr. Tim McNamara. Or Jennifer Olszewski. Or Dr. Jim Bommarito. Or Michael Koontz. Or Sue and David Stoeckel. Or Laurel Cheap. Or Rich Menzel. Or Francis del Rosario.)
When we follow the call of Jesus to “Come, and … see,” we deepen our relationship with Christ, forge an even deeper understanding of our neighbor, and do our part to bring Jesus’ healing to the world.
This outreach is being done in ministries all throughout our parish community, from our wonderful corps of disciples who bring Jesus to hospitals, nursing homes and hospices, to the committed group of volunteers who run St. Vincent de Paul and our two food banks, to those working with pregnant women and young mothers through Prepares.
God called each and every one of these trustworthy disciples to serve in the ministry of Jesus, just as God called Samuel to be a trustworthy disciple of the Lord.
Sometimes we too may be like Samuel, confused when God comes calling us by name.
Let us pray we will all learn to better hear God’s voice and respond to God’s call with “Here I am Lord"… "your servant is listening.”
In Evangelii Gaudium, or Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis encouraged us all to do our part, saying, “Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’ If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim Him joyfully: (John 1:41).”
So, I ask you again. “What are you looking for?”
Perhaps it’s time to follow Jesus’ call to “Come, and … see,” and join in as we bring others to Christ.