Second Sunday in Ordinary Time B
We come to find in the Gospel passage for this Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Jn 1:35-42) some important words, that act as a key to understanding John's Gospel. But, also are keys to our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus.
In the verses that precede this passage (Jn 1:31), John the Baptist reveals the reason for his mission: the sole reason for his mission is to enable the revelation of the Messiah to unfold, to ensure that the identity of Jesus is revealed so that everyone can know him and believe in him.
And today, we see precisely how this happens, how it changes the lives of those who open themselves to this revelation and welcome the Lord.
The Gospel begins by saying that John was still there, with two of his disciples (Jn 1:35).
Where is this place where Jesus reveals himself? Where can we look for him?
The place is where John baptized, and where he said he saw the Spirit come down on Jesus and remain upon him (Jn 1:33). So, this is the place of Jesus' baptism, the place we saw last Sunday, in Mark's Gospel, as the place where the Father himself sets out to reveal Jesus' identity as the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased. But it is also the place where Jesus chooses to be in solidarity with man and his destiny to the very end, the place where Jesus chooses to be a brother to the very end.
It is there, in this place, that Jesus passes (Jn 1:36).
Hence the first indication for our journey as disciples.
By having a relationship with Jesus a space for an encounter opens, a place of communion, and a sharing of life.
The identity of Jesus, that which the Baptist came to reveal, is an "open" identity, just as the heavens are open during the baptism. Jesus' identity is fulfilled by entering a relationship with mankind, by remaining in a relationship with us, as He is with the Father.
It is here, on the banks of the Jordan, that the relationship begins.
It begins through mediation: it is John who indicates to his disciples the presence of the Messiah, the Lamb of God (Jn 1:36). The encounter with the Lord always takes place through someone who goes before us, because faith is a gift, and because no one can believe alone. Faith is the entry point into a world inhabited by others, in which we learn to trust, to know the Lord together, and to share the space of a new familiarity.
It is here, then, that a passage takes place. Indeed, today's passage is full of passages: there is the passage of Jesus, as we have seen (Jn 1:36); and now there is the passage of these disciples, who leave John to follow Jesus.
The identity of the disciples is therefore also an open identity, in the making, like that of their Lord.
The relationship begins precisely with Jesus’ question, asking them what they are looking for (Jn 1:38). To be disciples is to allow oneself to be led to the essential question of one's life, to return to it again and again, in an ever-new way.
Open means being able to ask questions: in turn, the disciples ask, they listen, to arrive at the essential question of life: where do you dwell? (Jn 1:38). This does not simply mean asking where he lives but expressing the desire to know him in depth, to be admitted into the mystery of his life, and to enter into a relationship of trust with him.
Open also means capable of dwelling with Him (Jn 1:39): in other words, gradually making the Lord our home, the place where we dwell.
Finally, open means capable of allowing ourselves to be transformed in depth: for there is a final passage in this Gospel, and it is that of Simon. His name is Simon, son of John, but the Lord gives him a new name (Jn 1:42), which translates to opening him up to the possibility of being someone else, of having a wider existence, of achieving bigger things.
This expansion of life takes place For those who encounter the Lord. An entry into the dynamism of ever-new stages of growth, each marked by a precise hour, like the four o'clock in the afternoon (Jn 1:39) of Jesus' first two disciples, when they stayed with him for the first time.