My Dear People,
As we begin ordinary Time, the readings of the Gospel concentrate on Jesus initially recruiting His first disciples. The situation begins with John and two of his disciples. John points out to them the Messiah. John was standing with the two disciples and they see Jesus walk past. Again, John declares (his role in the divine plan): “Behold the Lamb of God.” Then, something new happens. Having heard the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus, these two begin the journey of discipleship: they follow Jesus. Then Jesus turns and, with His first words in His Priesthood, asks them a question that confronts every person: ‘What are you looking for?” Responding to him, but thinking of Jesus more as a teacher than as Lord, they ask, “Rabbi [teacher], where are you staying?” Jesus’ response is both an invitation and a promise: “Come and you will see.”
The two disciples stayed with Jesus all that day. The Greek verb “stayed” translated is theologically significant in John. The same verb is translated elsewhere as “remain.” Jesus uses this verb to denote his intimate relationship with the Father, the divine communion (14:10; 15:10), into which he calls his disciples (15:9). When the two disciples saw where he was staying, they not only learned where Jesus was lodging in an earthly sense, but they also began to discover his true, spiritual abode with the Father.
Andrew, one of the two disciples, came to Jesus through the Baptist’s testimony. We now see him bringing others to Jesus through his testimony. When Andrew found his own brother Simon, he tells Simon that he and his companion have found the Messiah. While it is difficult for us to imagine the impact of this claim on the first-century Jew, its meaning is clear: God has come to honor His promises to Israel in this man.
Andrew then brought Simon to Jesus, and we again find the “see and say” revelation formula in which one person sees another and then says what his or her role is in God’s plan (1:29, 36). Jesus looked at Simon and declared. “You are Simon, the son of John, you will be called Cephas (Rock).” Jesus thus declares to Peter his role in God’s plan: as Abram became Abraham (Gen. 17:5) and Jacob became Israel (Gen. 32:29), so now Simon becomes, “The Rock,” the foundation of the Church that Jesus will build (Matt 16:18). At the end of the Gospel, Jesus will entrust his sheep to Peter and give Peter a unique share in his role as the good shepherd (21:15-19).
Yours in Christ,