On the Gospel of John 1:35-42
2nd Sunday of the Year
This week’s Gospel reminds us, first, of the importance of the Christian mission in bringing people into a relationship with Jesus Christ. John the Baptist was one who came to “prepare a way for the Lord,” and help people in their preparation for an encounter with Christ. As Jesus passed, John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus is the “lamb of God,” the one who has come to save mankind from sin. Upon hearing this profound revelation of John, his disciples immediately followed Jesus. This is a very good lesson for us as we seek to bring others to Christ. The goal of all evangelization must be an encounter with Christ, where we are never the centre of attention, but only point the way to the one who is the Saviour of the world. We can often feel an over-reliance on our own efforts in spreading the Good News, but, while we have a very important part to play in bringing others to Christ, it is Christ who transforms the heart and ultimately brings about true conversion.
The two followers of John ask Jesus where he lives. Instead of Jesus simply answering their question with a statement of fact, Jesus’s answer is in the form of an invitation to “come and see.” How often do we seek out ways to find Jesus and wonder whether he is really with us as we journey through life. Jesus invites us all to follow Him and to know that he will always be with us once we invite Him into our lives. We, however, need to be open to the love of God as we place all our trust in Him. It is in following Jesus that we can be who we are meant to be, even when we may not understand fully what God wants for us in life. Stepping out in faith means abandoning ourselves to the love of God and knowing that His will for our lives brings true happiness and fulfillment.
At the end of the Gospel passage, Simon encounters Jesus and Jesus calls him “Cephas”, meaning “rock.” Just as John the Baptist leads his disciples to Jesus, Andrew leads his brother, Simon to an encounter with Jesus, which changes Simon profoundly. In giving Simon the name Peter (Cephas), Jesus gives him a very important mission which involves the leadership of the Church on earth, where Peter is the rock on which Christ builds His Church. Just as Peter was called, we are all called by God and given a particular purpose in life. We must pray for an encounter with Christ, where He will show us His plan for our lives. Let us never be afraid to be open to the will of God and whole-heartedly answer Jesus’s invitation to each of us as he calls us into an intimate relationship with Himself, for, as St. Augustine says to God in his Confessions, “our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
– John 1:35-42