January 17, 2021: A Reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

John 1:35-42

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38)

Imagine following a stranger you had heard about and with whom you really wanted to speak, and that person turned, looked you in the eye and asked, “What are you looking for?” Quite the question! No wonder the disciples could only mumble an incoherent answer of: “Where are you staying?” It wasn’t exactly what Jesus was asking, but it was a start.

And so Jesus invited them: “Come, and you will see.” Come, get to know me, follow me to where I abide. And then you will SEE. You will see your true self, the beautiful work of my hands. And in the safety of my loving gaze, you will see the hurting, broken parts of yourself, the parts you have rejected and buried under behaviors that you thought would hide them from your inner eye. But they just won’t disappear, and you don’t know what to do or to whom to turn. What are you looking for, my dearest child? You are right to come to me, to want to get to know me, to abide with me and to follow me and that is why I asked you to go deeper into yourself. This time, not alone. I am with you and whatever is broken, hurting, angry, distressed, I will face with you. You will have much growing to do, much honesty about yourself that you will have to look squarely in the eye and acknowledge. But remember, I AM with you. I am God and I know the true self you also want to get to know and to live from. Let’s go together. It will take time, but all things that have value take time. A flash in the pan is just that. It can’t take root and grow into something beautiful.

Jesus, like St. Bernard who, it is said, used to ask himself every day, “Bernard, why have you come?” let us also invite you to ask us the first question you asked your disciples: “What are you looking for?” Indeed. What am I looking for – today, now, in the circumstances of my own life? And like Bernard, why have I come? It’s an adventure of a lifetime but well worth accepting Jesus’ invitation. We can always go deeper with God clasping our hand. There is nothing to fear. As we walk into this new day, the Day of Resurrection, in the stillness of our hearts may we let the One who loves us more than any other, ask us the one question that has the power to clear away the debris that obscures our inner vision and free us for relationship with the Living God. What are you looking for?