John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them,
“What are you looking for?”
They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,
“where are you staying?”
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
“We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
“You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas” — which is translated Peter.
Seeing for Yourself
In the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Philip tells Nathanael that he has found the one awaited in the law and prophets – Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael is unimpressed. “Can any good come out of Nazareth?” Philip simply says, “Come and see.”
Philip does not argue with Nathanael and his skepticism. Nor does he tell him to believe in Jesus because of his own convictions. Rather he invites him to come and see for himself. Nathanael accepts the invitation.
When Nathanael meets Jesus, he finds someone who knows him on a very deep level. Jesus calls Nathanael an “Israelite without guile” and, in the image of sitting beneath a fig tree, one who is looking for peace in his homeland. Nathanael is puzzled. “Where did you get to know me?”
That is how it is when we take the invitation to come and see. We think we are coming to evaluate Jesus, but what happens is we look into the mirror of Jesus and see ourselves. But it may not be our normal view. It may be a self we barely know, a self to whom we have to be awakened.
Yes, we are people of physical needs and drives. Yes. we are people of mental joys and anguishes. Yes, we are people immersed in social networks and with social ambitions. Yes, we are cosmic citizens, benefiting and buffered by environments. We are all these things and we tend to go back and forth between them, identifying with one and then the other.
But Jesus is not talking to these dimensions. He sees in us what he knows in himself. We are beloved sons and daughters of the immanent transcendent Mystery of God. That makes us givers and receivers of love. And no matter what else is going on that is always going on.
If we take this seriously, it may come as a shock. It begins as Jesus’ appraisal, but it cannot stay there. Otherwise, it is just what somebody else thinks, even if this somebody else is Jesus. If it piques our interest enough, the voice of Philip addresses us.
Come and see for yourself.
© John Shea