1 Sm 3:3b-10, 19
1 Cor 6:13c-15a, 17-20
The Scripture readings this past Sunday, yesterday, continue the progression of Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus (which is an epiphany, as is the wedding feast of Cana).
After St. John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God, two of his disciples, hearing this, as well as having heard that John himself would decrease and this One would increase, they followed Jesus. St. John the Baptist would not have it any other way – – of course, he wanted them to follow him because he knew that he was the Best man and that as such was appointed to point out the Bridegroom: Jesus.
The two disciples literally up and followed Jesus. He saw them and asked “what are you looking for?” This reminds me of when Jesus asks the mob descending upon him at Gethsemane, “whom do you seek?” While they had no intention of following Jesus but rather of killing him, these two disciples follow the One they are seeking. Seeking, they found him.
Can’t you just imagine this encounter, this dialogue? A great friendship is forming. In response to his “what are you looking for?” They answer, “where are you staying?” In other words, they are saying, “we want to be with you, where you are!”
We are told St. Andrew was one of these two disciples. Excited by finding the One he’s looking for, the Messiah, the promised King, Andrew tells his brother Simon Peter and brings him to Jesus!
St. John the Baptist listened to the voice of God instructing him to point Jesus out to his hearers and followers. In turn, he became an instrument through whom God spoke. The disciples listened, and sought out Jesus whom they began to follow when he asked for them to do so. They themselves began to resemble him after staying with him, and in effect, became echoes of his voice calling others to Jesus: “follow him, come and see…”
This trajectory of listening to God speaking, following his call, and becoming an instrument through whom God speaks is outlined in the call of Samuel, which was the first reading on Sunday. The prophet Samuel is held as an example should follow, just like St. John the Baptist, and just like the two disciples in the Gospel. This is how the Church evangelizes.
“Where are you staying?” God has pitched his tent with the human race and stays in our midst. He is the walking, moving, Living Temple. He wants to stay with us. And not only does Jesus want to stay with us, he wants to stay within us – – to abide in us and for us to abide in him. This is the whole point of Christmas – – God wishes to put his life into us; this is the Epiphany – – God has manifested himself to bring all people to himself; in his baptism, he makes it possible for us to receive his Life, become children of God, and live his mission of bringing others to him. “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (First John 1: 3)
To summarize the above in six words: seek, find, listen, follow, abide, and call. It all comes down to abiding because that’s what is at the heart of why Jesus came, to give us eternal life: “to know the Father and Jesus Christ the One whom he sent.” (Cf. John 17:3). So, God wishes to abide in us, in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, now unto eternity. (Cf. John 15). How do we find but in seeking him? How do we abide in him except in listening to him, that is, in keeping his commandments?
Once we find him and he lives in us, we listen to him, and in doing so, we manifest him to the world and bring others to dwell, to stay with Him. His words are an invitation addressed to everyone:
“If a man loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”(John 14:23)