When we wish to find out more about a person, our first impulse is to look them up on social media; to find out what they like, who their friends are, where they work and where they go on holiday.
But to really get to know the person, we need to meet them face to face and spend time with them.
The disciples make a move and begin to follow, but they follow at a distance. This happens to many people: they are curious and start to pray, start to attend a meeting, to go to mass. It is indeed a good place to start.
‘The God Who Sees Me’
But they are shocked at what happens next. We read ‘Turning around, Jesus saw them following’. This is true of us too. We are seen, known and loved by God long before we even begin to be interested in Him. And if we take some steps towards Him, it is because He Himself is drawing us to Him.
In Genesis we read that when Hagar, Abraham and Sarah’s slave girl was being mistreated by Sarah she fled into the desert and would have died there had it not been for an angel who appears to her and comforts her and sends her back. Hagar then realises how deeply God cares for her and so we read:
“She (Hagar) gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’”
But let’s go on. The first thing God says after Adam and Eve sinned was a question ‘Adam where are you?’. The first things Jesus says in the Gospel of John is also a question: ‘What do you want?’
What do I want?
He asks the same question to you: ‘What are you looking for?’
Maybe our first answers are a bit mixed up: ‘I want to do well in my job, I want that relationship with him/her to work out, I want Juve to win’….
But is it what we are really looking for? St Ignatius taught that every time we pray we should ask God ‘to give us what we are looking for’. And in truth we are looking for joy and peace… for God!
The answer the disciples give to Jesus’ question is ‘Where are you staying Rabbi? How do we get to know you better?’