God did not create us to live in isolation but in community. Within this community we have the opportunity each day to encounter people. Some encounters are insignificant and do not have any impact on our life. However, there are other encounters that turn out to be of great significance; they enrich our lives and have the potential to change them. This is one of the most rewarding things in life.
In today’s Gospel account we see how Peter, Andrew and John had a powerful first encounter with Jesus. Years later when John wrote his Gospel he could remember the exact time of day, it was at the four o’clock hour. One meeting with Jesus, and they were captivated by him. They found him warm, friendly and welcoming. They experienced him as a remarkable person, and a deep friendship was born.
The three future apostles felt comfortable and at peace in Jesus’ presence. Through their encounter with him they began to discover themselves. Because of the kind of person Jesus was, they had a vision of what they themselves might become. Jesus had influenced the three in such a deep and powerful way that it changed their lives forever. That initial encounter was so simple and humble, but it bore rich fruit.
Pope Francis has repeatedly said that we must have a personal encounter with Jesus so as to develop a deep and abiding relationship with him. Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI often stressed the importance of knowing not simply about Jesus, but knowing him in a personal and intimate way.
Jesus is forever passing by and is always available to those who are sincerely looking for him. But Jesus never forces himself on anyone. To those who are interested in knowing him more, he says what he said to John and Andrew, “Come and see.”
This past year we encouraged parishioners to accept the One% Challenge in order to get to know Jesus. The challenge was to spend 15 minutes each day in prayer with the Lord by encountering him in the Gospels. I invite you to renew this challenge in your life. This encounter consists of three simple parts: Ask, Seek, and Knock. The first 3 minutes are spent quieting oneself and to ask Jesus to help you get to know him during the prayer time. The next 7 minutes are spent seeking to know Jesus by reading a passage from the Gospels, reflecting on it, asking Jesus about what it means to you and what he wants you to know, and then listen as Jesus speaks to you. The third part is spending 5 minutes knocking by asking for what you need and for what others need.
Entering into a relationship with Jesus is not a once-and-for-all encounter, but a growing relationship with him that we are talking about. “Come and see” what I, your Lord, have to offer you and do not be afraid!
- Fr. Dennis, January 14, 2018