Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Gospel reading John 1:35-42
As John watched Jesus walk by he made sure his companions noticed him. He said “Behold, the Lamb of God.” And they followed him.
Andrew told his brother Simon that they had found the Messiah, and “then he brought him to Jesus.” And they followed him.
These are remarkably simple stories of evangelization. All they had to do was physically show someone Jesus, and that was all it took for them to drop everything and follow him. That’s how life-changing and influential Jesus’ presence was.
Can you imagine if it were that easy for us to convince our non-Christian friends and family members to follow Christ? In my experience, it’s nothing close to that. It’s so, SO much harder than “Look there he is” and “Sure! I’ll follow that guy!” There are certain people in my life who are so uninterested and blind that any tiny effort to share Jesus feels totally futile. Pointless. And I often think, What am I doing wrong? Why isn’t this working? Why is it taking so long? Why can’t they see? They are missing out on so much.
In a literal sense, we don’t get to point out Jesus walking around town, nor can we bring people to physically hear him preach. Our reality of evangelization is different and challenging, but also enriching and exciting. WE have to be Jesus. And while our efforts to share our faith can be incredibly frustrating, it’s also invigorating and exhilarating to get the chance to BE Jesus to someone else.
The other day I was thinking about the qualities that attract me to Jesus, and the people in my life who are the best examples of those same qualities. It was awe-inspiring to realize how much of Jesus truly is present in my life. People who radiate peace, bravery, boldness, abundant forgiveness, resilience, passion, dedication to mission and truth, compassion and creative insight. Whether they intended to or not, each of them has played a part in my faith story, by letting the Christ inside of them shine through.
These are the people who inspire me to be the best I can be – to craft myself into the person God created me to be. I pray and hope that the people I encounter who have yet to find Jesus, can see him in me the way I see him in so many people who are dear to me. And that the Jesus they see in me is so irresistible, that they can’t help but choose to follow him.