“Come and see” (John 1:39)

by Shiu Lan
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 3:3B-10, 19

1 Corinthians 6:13C-15A, 17-20

John 1:35-42

After Jesus’ Baptism, John gave this testimony about Jesus, “I saw the Spirit coming down on him like a dove from heaven and resting on him … but God who sent me to baptize told me, ‘You will see the spirit coming down and resting on the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’” (John 1:32-33). John continued his testimony, “[Jesus] is the Chosen One of God” (John 1:34).

A couple of days after Jesus’ Baptism, when John the Baptist saw Jesus walk by, he said “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). Two of his disciples – one is identified as Andrew and the other probably John (Ref. Ignatius Study Bible p163) - heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus invites them to “Come and see” and their discipleship with Jesus begins. Then with Andrew’s testimony “We have found the Messiah”, Andrew’s brother Simon also came to follow Jesus who names him Peter (John 1:41-42). Andrew and John, who responded promptly to Christ’s personal invitation to come and see and decided to follow Him faithfully, eventually become His Apostles. Andrew is believed to be crucified on an X-shaped Cross in Patras, Greece while preaching the good news there; John becomes an Evangelist and Jesus’ beloved disciple (Ref. John 20:2). Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, the first Pope of the Catholic Church, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven” (Mt 16:19).

We have probably been offered opportunities to “come and see”, before making any decisions in life, be they big or small. It could simply be choosing a university, viewing an apartment or interviewing for a job; it could be a major life changing decision like discerning for religious life, considering marriage, or starting and changing career. When we receive such an invitation, do we respond promptly or sit on it? When we encounter Jesus in our less fortunate neighbours - the poor, the homeless, the marginalized and the persecuted in society - and He invites us to come and see, are we courageous enough to follow Him and see the truth? Are we compassionate enough to answer Jesus’s call and share our blessings generously? Are we doing what we can so that God’s righteousness, justice and truth can prevail in our family, workplace, community and parish? In a world of chaos and uncertainties, He may invite us to come and see His Most Sacred Heart, and ponder on what “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) means to each of us and how we should live to bear witness to Him. Andrew, John and Peter in this Sunday’s Gospel reading inspire us to follow their example and respond to God’s call eagerly, joyfully and with a faithful heart. Whatever we are called to do, the Holy Spirit will guide us and empower us to accomplish our mission; God is our solace and only reliance.

Very often, we find it hard or unable to listen to God’s call. We are not alone! The story of God calling Samuel in the First Reading is a fine example. It was after God calling “Samuel! Samuel!” three times before “Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy” (1 Samuel 3-10). Eli was the priest under whom Samuel served the Lord.

When God calls us, let us respond with this Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm, “Here I am Lord; I come to do your will” (Psalm 40).