Dear Parishioners,

“Teacher, where are you staying?” “Come and see.”

The two disciples in today’s gospel ask a simple, straight-forward question: “Teacher, where are you staying?” An answer to this question could be given in a moment, in a couple of words, but Jesus does not provide them. Instead, he says, “Come and see.” The disciples come to Jesus with a question; he responds with an invitation. Instead of responding in words, he offers an opportunity for the disciples to travel with him, to walk with him, and perhaps to find what they are searching for.

I do not know how frustrating it might have been for the disciples not to have their questions answered, but it is very instructive for us. Because what Jesus is revealing in this short encounter with the two disciples, is the basic pattern by which God deals with humanity, the way that God interacts with us in our lives.

We come to God with questions. God gives us invitations. The questions are many and can be drawn from several different circumstances. Why does the innocent suffer? Why is our world so violent? Why is someone that I love sick? Why can’t I find a job? Why do our political and religious leaders fail us? How can I protect my family? Why am I so depressed and lonely? Where can I look for hope? Questions, real questions, that we place before God. But God doesn’t answer them. God simply says, “Come and see; come follow me.”

How much easier it would be if God would simply explain things to us, if God would tell us what is going to happen, if God would tell us what we want to know. But God does not tell us. God says, “Come and see.” God responds in this way because on the deepest level, God knows that what we really need, what our life really requires, is not information, but trust. God knows that we could never comprehend, we could never absorb the mysteries through which God is building the kingdom. God understands that we could never take in all the twists and turns by which God is saving us. So instead of trying to reveal this information to our limited minds, God asks us to trust. God says, “Come and see.” Live moment to moment, walk day to day, until gradually you begin to recognize the plan that is unfolding before your eyes. God invites us to trust, to believe that God is in charge, that there is a plan, and that that plan will eventually lead us to life.

The power of this truth is expressed beautifully in a passage from John Henry Cardinal Newman, which I’d like to share with you.

Newman says, “I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. God has not created me for nothing. I shall do good. I shall do God’s work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it—if I do but keep God’s commandments. Therefore, I will trust God, whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away. If I am sick, my sickness may be a service, in perplexity, my perplexity may be of service. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve God’s kingdom. God does nothing in vain. God has a plan. God may take away my friends, throw me among strangers, make me feel desolate, make my spirit sink, hide my future from me. Still God has a plan, and I will trust the One who guides me.”

We come to God with questions, God responds with invitations. We come looking for information, God invites us to trust. This is the challenge for every believer: to accept God as trustworthy. For we are asked not to be frustrated when instead of giving us an answer, God invites us to “Come and see,” when God invites us to walk for a while until the truth emerges. For those of us who know our God, that invitation is not impossible. For as soon as we take up the journey, as soon as we begin to follow, it becomes clear that we will not travel alone. Step by step, day by day, God will walk with us until in time we come to a place where every question is answered and where all goodness comes to light.

Fr. Monteleone

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