Sunday, January 18, 2009

Come and See

It is years since I read it but an article in the English language version of 30 Days made a big impact on my reading of John. I don't know how authoritative it was but the author claimed that in John his use of the Greek words for 'see', 'look' etc., all carried the implication of contemplation and of a deeper encounter with Jesus than the words might imply in English. "Come and see" he says to Andrew and John and they go not just to where He's living but to that relationship with Him that enables them to come to faith in Him. Within twelve hours or so it seems Andrew is excitedly declaring to Simon that he has found the Messiah. His enthusiasm and certainty brings Simon to Jesus. The encounter does not leave him untouched. He arrives as Simon the fisherman and leaves as Cephas, Peter, 'Rock' future leader of the Apostles, Bishop of Rome and the first Pope. Jesus' invitation to 'come and see' is still addressed to us. We too are invited to go to Him and spend time with Him - in the Eucharist, in the Scriptures, in prayer, in our brothers and sisters. We too are invited that encountering Him will not leave us unchanged, we each have tasks and paths that are ours alone. In this year of prayer for vocations it would do no harm to pray that not only would men and women hear the Lord's call but that they would answer it! It's a two part movement. God loves us first, sent His Son into the world to reveal that love and make it effective but we must respond, open up, believe and walk with Him. God will not force a response so we must pray that all hearts will recognize and respond to the Lord. Age, gender, intellectual ability are no barriers. Anna and Simeon were old, Maria Goretti was less than twelve, Joseph of Cupertino was intellectually challenged (so much so he was called 'the gawper') while Thomas Aquinas was one of the most intelligent men in history, Teresa of Avila was converted in middle age and Matt Talbot was an alcoholic. The only block there is to following the Lord is oneself. If one has the courage and the generosity nothing is impossible. The image above is by Duccio.

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