Sunday reflection by Very Reverend Stephen E. Salocks, Rector of Saint John's Seminary - January 17, 2021
“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” The Bible has a way of reminding us that, as much as we might long for God, God longs for us so much more – calling us, inviting us to come, to see and stay with Him, and even more significantly, to bring others to Him. The scriptures proclaimed on the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time demonstrate this truth.
While there are many ways the invitation of the Lord can come to us – in prayer, in pilgrimage, in study, in crisis, and even in our sleep, the call or vocation begins with God. In the First Reading, young Samuel hears God’s call during the night, and eventually, with the help of the old priest, Eli, responds, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
In the Gospel, when the two disciples of John see Jesus and hear John say, “Behold, the Lamb of God,” they immediately leave John and follow Jesus. To the question, they ask Jesus, “Where do you stay,” Jesus answers: “Come and see,” and their journey of discipleship begins. Like Eli in the First Reading, John fulfilled his responsibility to his two former disciples, and, by his witness, he has helped them recognize Jesus.
It is worth noting that the very first words of Jesus in John’s Gospel are a question: “What are you looking for?” It is a question that Jesus addresses to everyone who comes to him, to those who hear the call of God to follow his Son, and to all who are searching for the truth.
The disciples’ response, “Rabbi (Teacher), where are you staying (or abiding)?” prompts Jesus’ invitation to “Come and See.” The richness of the biblical word for “Staying,” “abiding,” or “remaining” expresses the permanency of the relationship between the Father and the Son – and between the Son and his disciples – a reality that Jesus will expand upon later in John’s Gospel (cf. 14:10 ff. and 17:21). With the invitation of “Come and see,” Jesus calls his disciples into the intimate relationship he enjoys with the Father. Just as important, Jesus’ disciples can trust that he abides with them.
From this time on, especially in John’s Gospel, disciples will be distinguished by the fact that they recognize Jesus, believe in him, and then bring their faith to others. This is exemplified almost immediately in today’s Gospel when Andrew, one of John’s disciples who left John and followed Jesus, in turn, “found his own brother Simon Peter and brought him to Jesus.”
Eli, John, and Andrew are all examples of the way we can point to the presence of the divine in our midst and encourage others to respond to the call of the Lord. May our Lord continue to open our eyes and unlock our hearts to behold his presence in our midst. May we never be so sleepy as to miss his call, nor hesitate to follow and abide with him. May we always be ready to say, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”