My Dear Sisters and Brothers! This Sunday we hear in the Gospel of John a ‘report’ of the very first day of Jesus’ pubic ministry. St John the Evangelist tells us that on that first day Jesus was calling his first followers. However can you detect that it was an unusual way for calling. Jesus didn’t say: ‘Come follow me’ like we can hear in some other passages of the Scriptures. In fact he said: ‘What do you want?’ Is it then a calling story, a vocation story or maybe an intrusion story? Well, there are different ways to say: ‘What do you want?’ It can be said in such a way that it means: ‘Go away’ but it can be also said in a way that it opens the space to surface the deepest thoughts and desires hidden in one’s soul. Of course the written word cannot tell us the way something was spoken but the reaction of Andrew and the other man; we believe he was John the Evangelist himself, tells us that Jesus’ ‘What do you want?’ allowed to surface the deepest thoughts and desires of Andrew and John. They responded to Jesus’ question with their own question: ‘Rabbi, where do you live?’ Unfortunately John the Evangelist did not write what they saw and heard that first day when they stayed with Jesus but if after many years he still remembered that it was the tenth hour, which is 4pm, it reveals to us that the person of Jesus Christ, whom John the Baptist showed them, made a lasting impression on them.
Let us return to the question whether today’s Gospel passage is a calling story or not. It is a calling story because Jesus calls people to follow him through the ministry of other people. Andrew and John heard the calling to follow Jesus in what John the Baptist said. Simon Peter heard a calling in what his own brother Andrew said about Jesus.
Jesus Christ reaches us through the ministry of people we have around us: Church’s ministers, family members, friends, colleagues, parishioners etc. As far as we know Jesus didn’t write anything, apart of what he wrote on the sand when an adulterous woman was brought to him. Instead of writing his autobiography or a message book for the humankind Our Blessed Lord invited some persons: ‘Come and see.’ They shared his life and he shared with them the life-giving and life-transforming mysteries of God. Before they wrote it down they lived it. They were transformed by it. Then they did what John the Baptist did to his two disciples and what Andrew did to his brother, they passed it on to the next generation. However they not only passed some written memories but they also passed on to the next generation of the disciples the Living Body of the Lord Jesus. Do you know what I mean? The Church. The Church, the Body of Christ, enables people to experience what Andrew and John did that first day when they went to stay with Jesus. The Church enables people ‘to taste and see that the Lord is good.’
Jesus himself said: ‘Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.’ Two people playing Xbox may be having a good time but they are not a community living and sharing the Good News. A hundred thousand people at the MCG can make a deafening noise but they are not a community living and sharing the Good News. That’s a constant challenge and privilege for us to make of this community a community which lives and shares the Good News. The Good News at the heart of our community is not a theory or ideology but the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. He trusted his first followers. He trusts us too, that here among us people can ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’