2nd Sunday Year B - Homily 2

Homily 2 - 2009

It is better to approach today’s passage from the Gospel of John not as a documentary but more as a poem.  Let the words say more than they say; savour them; draw out from them the last drop of flavour.

Look at Jesus’ question to the two people who had begun to follow him: What do you want?  The question is the beginning of every genuine search for what matters.  What do you want?  Not: What should you want? Not: what do the culture, the media, your peers, the atmosphere you breathe tell you that you want; but: What do you really want?  What do you want?  It’s important to touch into the desire, since it is from the desire that the energy comes.  It is a lifelong task to clarify our deepest desire.  We think we’ve got it, but then we realise: No – there’s more.  It’s the journey to real self-knowledge – and it is the only journey worth going on.

The two who were following Jesus, answered: Where do you live? They didn’t know yet what they wanted, but it seems that they knew that they wanted … and they intuited and hoped that, perhaps, Jesus knew and might help them.  Where do you live?  The word translated as “live” has lots of meanings.  Their question was not: What’s your address? but was more like: What’s the world you inhabit? What is your experience of being alive? How do you see things? What are  your hopes, your fears, your goals?

What is precious to you?  Where do you live?  For us, the question springs perhaps from the same intuition that inspires the song: “O Dear Lord, three things I pray – to see thee more clearly…”  and, then, perhaps, “to love thee more dearly” – but that might grow later.

Jesus replied: Come and see.  Words won’t provide the answer – only life, experience, shared intimacy will lead the inner eye to see.  We need to go beyond informing the head to connecting at the level of our hearts and spirits.  They stayed with him the rest of the day.  The word “stayed” is the same word translated earlier as “lived”.  Here it could well mean: They spent time with him; they entered his world.

That is what can happen when we accept the invitation to Come and see.  We enter his world: slowly, we see through his eyes; we begin to love the world, and especially people, with his love.  Meditation expresses so well our effort to stay with him.  As we see him more clearly, gradually we love him more dearly, and we find ourselves wanting, able and empowered to follow him more nearly.

What do you want? Where do you live? Come and see? And they stayed.

 “Oh, Dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more clearly; to love thee more dearly; to follow thee more nearly…”

We stay not just, as with the two disciples, for the rest of that day, but : “Day by day, day by day …”