In our Gospel reading for today, we get a glimpse of a blueprint for discipleship: invitation, encounter, invitation.
Invitation: “John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (Jn 1:35). John points out Jesus to Andrew and the other disciple and they answer his invitation to follow Jesus.
Encounter: The two disciples of John catch up to Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —, “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” Jesus turns to the disciples and asks them the question, “What are you looking for?” They are asking for his location of habitation, recognizing that is where he would gather his followers to teach. Their intent, once finding his whereabouts, may have also been to visit him at another time. Jesus though invites them to: “Come, and you will see.” From this initial encounter, both are willing to follow Jesus and spend the day with him.
Invitation: Andrew, having encountered and spent the day with Jesus, upon leaving went and “found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” — which is translated Christ —. Then he brought him to Jesus. Having encountered and experienced Jesus, he went to share the good news with his brother. Andrew, who had earlier in the day been invited, now became the inviter.
This pattern is the same for us. We are invited to encounter Christ and experience him in a unique, intimate, and personal way. Do we hear the invitation? If we do hear it, do we dismiss or allow other priorities or distractions to keep us from doing so. Or do we accept the invitation, and like Andrew follow, encounter, and experience Jesus the Messiah, the Christ?
When we do encounter and experience Jesus we are to invite others to come and see the living Son of God in our midst. A few examples of how we can do this is to share a story of how Jesus has touched our life, share a Bible passage that has moved us, a book that has transformed our life, a cd or youtube video that has touched us. Invite another to worship with you at Mass, to share in a ministry you are involved in, to join a small group you might be involved in, make time to communicate each other’s needs and pray together, accompany another in their need.
If you aren’t engaged in any of the above, I invite you to give one or two an opportunity, and as you encounter Jesus, then like Andrew go out and invite another. Ultimately, we need to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, for he will lead us in ways of invitation and encounter that we can experience and then share. The key is having a heart, mind, and soul open to encounter Jesus and one another, then be willing to let go, and be willing to allow God to happen.
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Link for the Mass readings for Sunday, January 17, 2021