by Father Mike Stubbs
When a staff position at the parish becomes vacant, we ordinarily form a search committee to fill the position.
We are looking for a candidate. At the same time, there are various individuals out there also looking for employment. So, who is really the one performing the search?
In Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jn 1:35-42, Jesus calls the first two disciples to follow him: Andrew and another unnamed disciple who is perhaps John. The question is: Have they been searching for Jesus, or has Jesus been searching for them?
When these two men who eventually become disciples of Jesus start to follow him, it almost looks as though they are stalking him, or following him as a stray puppy might follow a young child.
You might even think that it’s kind of creepy. They are not following him as disciples — at least, not yet. They appear to be motivated by curiosity, more than anything else. Up until now, they have been following John the Baptist as his disciples. When he points Jesus out, they launch out on this new adventure.
They really do not know what they are looking for. That is why, when Jesus asks them, “What are you looking for?” they are unable to give a straight answer. Instead, they respond with a question, “Where are you staying?”
Their question implies that what they really want is to stay with Jesus. And that is what they do. As the Gospel reading tells us: “So they went and saw where Jesus was staying, and they stayed with him that day.”
The two disciples do not know what they are looking for. At the same time, they have an intuition that they will find it, whatever it is, wherever Jesus is.
That is why they are staying with him. They recognize that Jesus has something to teach them. That is why they address him as “rabbi,” which, according to the Gospel, means “teacher.” And that is why they become his disciples. Jesus will reveal to them what they have been looking for all along.
We also may be unsure of what to expect out of life. We may not know what we are looking for. In that respect, we may resemble the two disciples in the Gospel story.
And like them, if we follow Jesus, he will lead us to discover what we are searching for. He will lead us to fullness of life.