Learning to live
John the Evangelist has shown special interest in indicating to his readers how the small group of Jesus’ followers got started. It all seems casual. The Baptist, watching Jesus pass by, tells his disciples who are with him, Behold, the Lamb of God.
The disciples have probably understood very little of what they heard, but they begin to follow Jesus. They walk in silence for a while. There has not been real contact with him yet. They are following a stranger and they do not know exactly why or for what.
Jesus breaks the silence with a question: What are you looking for? What do you expect from me? Do you want to direct your lives toward where I am going? These are things that need to be made very clear. The disciples say to him: Teacher, where are you staying? What is the secret of your life? What does it means to live for you? It appears that they are not looking for new doctrines. They want to learn from Jesus a different way of life. They want to live like him.
Jesus gives them a direct answer: Come, and you will see. Experience it yourselves. Do not look for information from outside. Come to live with me and you will discover how I live, where my orientation in life starts from, why I live this way.
This is the decisive step we need to take today in order to usher in a new phase in the history of Christianity. Millions of people say they are Christians, but they have not experienced real contact with Jesus. They do not know how he lived; they are ignorant of his project. They do not learn anything special from him.
Meanwhile, we do not have in our churches the capacity to give rise to a new generation of believers. Our word is no longer attractive or believable. It looks like Christianity, as we understand and live it, creates less and less interest. How would we answer if someone were to come to us and ask, “Where are you staying?” “What is interesting in your lives?”
It is urgent that Christians meet in small groups to learn to live in the style of Jesus, listening together to the Gospel. He is more attractive and believable than all of us. He can raise up new followers, since he shows a way of life that is different and interesting.
José Antonio Pagola
January 18, 2015
2 Ordinary Time (B)
John 1, 35-42