2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B

As Jesus walks by, John the Baptist calls out “Behold the Lamb of God.”  The one so obedient to God that he would follow God like a little lamb.  Two of John’s disciples pick up on the cue and follow him. They ask a very reasonable question, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”  Jesus responds, “Come, and you will see.”  That invitation echoes through the generations and lands upon our ears, challenging us to follow Christ and have the courage to go wherever he will lead.

Yet, I wonder if it is not a quaint or old fashioned invitation. Come and see.  It does not seem to be the most practical way.  This is the age of GPS.  We don’t come and see. My friend Fred is always desperate to make a map for me with landmarks outlined on the side of the road and I impatiently say, “Just give the address. It is all I need.”  This is not the age of come and see.  This is the age of when I want to know who led the National League in home runs in 1978, I pull a machine out of my pocket, talk to it, and it tells me. (The answer is George Foster. How could you keep reading without knowing the answer?)  For now and for us, come and see seems a little meandering.

After all the quickest way from one point to another is a straight line.  We are Americans and we value efficiency.  We set our goals, some with less meaning but many of them highly valued Christian goals such as raising and protecting our families and caring for others. And we pursue them with blinding intensity and with all the speed we can muster.  Come and see?  Jesus, just give me the address and I will meet you there.

But therein lies the problem. If you arrive at your destination without Jesus, what is the point?  How empty would our achievements be without the consolation, love and peace of God?  Come and see is an invitation to a journey.  We may follow Christ and we may walk with him, but we are never supposed to go without him. He wants us to be Come and See Christians.

And what better model could we have but our savior?  Jesus was not without a destination, a destiny and a goal.  His destination was Jerusalem, his destiny was the cross and resurrection and his goal was our redemption.  Yet, that did not stop him from being diverted by a widow whose son had just died or by a blind beggar asking for sight, or from a leper desiring to be clean.  He belonged to all whom God put in his way.  He was walking down a road, but not without seeing who needed him –and the poor have the good news preached to them.

If we are focused on only the destination, we will not hear the gentle call for justice from the oppressed. We will not notice those who need healing just steps from our path. We will not take the time to make peace. Come and See Christians know the power of accompaniment; of the gift they have to share Christ with others.  Last week, when Pope Francis was in the Philippines, he was to tour an area devastated by a typhoon last year.  Sure enough, another typhoon was about to hit as we leaving to say mass there and they urged him to call off his trip to the region.  He simply, answered, “But this is why I came.”  So he went and said mass in his vestments protected only by the cheap yellow rain slicker everyone else wore.  He taught a lesson of what it means to be for and with each other.

St. Catherine of Siena famously said, “All the way to heaven is heaven.”  In other words, all the blessings, all the love and all the moments of unexpected encounter are the stuff of life that leads us to eternity because that is what salvation looks like.  Come and See Christians miss none of it God is offering.  Come and See Christians know the joy of accompaniment.  Come and See Christians never get ahead of Jesus and patiently wait to see where he will lead.  Come and see Christians have a world of wonder and astonishing grace to explore.  Where are we needed on the way to our destiny?  What joys await us?  As Jesus said, “Come and you will see.”