What an amazing set of readings we are offered today, on this second Sunday of the year, and the first after all the Christmas festivities! We have been intensely focused on the mystery of God’s incarnation in the person of Jesus, and of Jesus’ acceptance of the God within as the guide to his mission and life. What do we do with all that? How do we leave it and switch gears to the routine? Perhaps, we don’t leave it. Today’s readings act as a transition to the purpose of the rest of the year, for they invite us to move from pondering the picture to become an active part of the scene.
Call, curiosity and wise discernment are keystone notions in the reading from 1Samuel and the Gospel of John. The boy Samuel responded promptly to the call he hears, but he responded in the wrong place. The old man Eli knew that the call was not from him. He also knew that the call was not through him. He was wise enough to know that God had no need to send messages through him to the boy. He was also wise enough to know that the boy, Samuel, could respond directly to God and could converse with God without his help. So Eli directed him to do just that.
John, the other wise man that we meet today, was not a collector of disciples. He knew his role was to point out Jesus and to point others in that direction. It was because of John that Andrew and the other disciple approached Jesus. But they also came out of curiosity and with their own questions. When Jesus saw them approaching he asked them what they were looking for. They responded with their own question, “Where do you stay?” We know that they were not interested in lodgings. This is more like their asking Jesus, “Where do you hang out?” Jesus invited them, “Come, see where I hang.” So they went and spent the day there with him.
The first thing Andrew did after the afternoon with Jesus was to find his brother and share his convictions with him. What did these disciples see that day, as they hung out with Jesus, that got them excited that they had a need to tell others. Perhaps they saw Jesus heal the sick, touch a leper, socialize with the sinner. Perhaps they saw him feed the hungry, preach a word to challenge the ‘righteous’ and to comfort the outcast. Perhaps they saw him rest and pray and disturb both when someone had a need. From the pattern of Jesus’ life portrayed in the Gospel, we can surely assume that they saw some of this and more. When Jesus beckons, “Come, and see” there is a lot to see.
The phrase itself has been somewhat hijacked by religious communities and diocesan organization to promote membership for themselves. It is good to remember the original context and know that when we invite people to “come and see”, it is important to understand that we are inviting another to come and see where Jesus is and to be willing to be there ourselves. Anything less does not warrant a “come and see” invitation. Following the call to come and see will bring us to many eye-opening and soul-opening experiences.
Elizabeth Ferguson, OP