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Following Jesus requires an encounter with Him

The following story appeared in the January 12, 2018 issue of the Idaho Catholic Register.

By Padre Enrique Terriquez

We cannot take more than three steps without knowing where we are going in this life. From Samuel to St. John the Evangelist, we see the fundamental attitudes to understand the call to live a healthier, more human, and more just life; following Jesus who teaches us to live from God, who wants the best for us.

We cannot lose any detail of the symbolism proper to the theology of Saint John. He has already introduced us to the Baptist as an example of an authentic vocation: he who does not preach of himself. “I must decrease so that he (Jesus) increases,” he categorically stated. “John was standing with two of his disciples, and seeing that Jesus was passing by, he said of him: ‘This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ And hearing these words, the two disciples follow Jesus.”

John says that, “Jesus was passing.” We do not know where He comes from or where He is going. He does not stop with the Baptist. He goes much further than His religious world of the desert. That is why John tells His disciples to notice Jesus, affirming: “This is the Lamb of God.” One day, He will be sacrificed on a cross.

He will never impose himself by force. He will not force anyone to follow. Those who want to follow Him will do so freely. The two disciples who have listened to the Baptist, begin to follow Jesus without saying a word. There is something about Him that attracts them, although they still do not know who He is or where He leads them. To follow Jesus is more than just reading what others say about Him. A personal experience is necessary.

Jesus breaks the silence with a question: “What are you looking for?” These are the first words of Jesus to those who follow Him. You cannot walk after His steps in just any way. Why do we follow Him? What do we expect from Him? The two disciples respond and ask rather intuitively:

“Teacher, where do you live?” They do not ask for His doctrine, but rather they want Him to show them where He lives, how He lives and what for. They want to learn to live. To which Jesus responds: “Come and see.”

Following Jesus, walking with Him, cannot be done except by having an experience of an encounter with him. They want to know what the secret of His life is. What is to live for Him? They want to live like Him. Spoken theories or the same theologies by themselves are not enough. Our heart is only moved by the theories lived, by the experience and personal testimony.

What did John want to imply by specifying that, “It would be four o’clock in the afternoon?” The implication is that the afternoon invites them to come to his home and stay with Him. “We have found the Messiah,” was the fruit of that coexistence!

Jesus continues to “pass” in our midst: in the sacraments, in His Word, in prayer, in events, and in the testimony of life of so many believers who live the experience of Jesus.

We cannot allow the Lamb of God to pass by because this is the One who comes to give us peace, to satisfy the longing for eternal happiness that only He can give.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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