1 Samuel 3:3b-10, 19
1 Corinthians 6:13c-15a, 17-20
There is a story told of the early days of California, where a group of Spanish explorers were hopelessly lost in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Try as they might, they could not find a way out of the myriad of valleys and were trapped in a maze of trails and pathways within the mountain ranges surrounding them.
Then, as if by a miracle, one of the men found an old map buried within a saddlebag of one of the mules. Now, armed with the map, and more so with the knowledge that someone had been there ahead of them, they were able to use the map to find their way to safety and home.
However it wasn’t until several months later, when they were safely home in Spain, that they realised that the map they’d followed was in fact a map for a different part of California!
Perhaps then it wasn’t really the map that saved them, but the notion that others had been gone before them and returned home to tell the tale (and draw the map) and so they could dare to believe and trust that there was a way ‘home’.
Certainly, ‘home’ is a word that evokes many powerful images. It’s a simple word to represent an essential reality that we can tend to take for granted, but in fact is one of our deepest desires and needs – for a home. A place we can return to and feel a sense of belonging, a place of safety and security, a place where one can relax and be oneself. ‘Home’ also represents that ‘space’ in my life where I can experience love, intimacy and live as I am, and not as others might expect or as my roles dictate.
I believe that the disciples approach Jesus in this same sense. As I read this gospel of today, I sense Jesus also recognised such needs in the disciples. Their whole conversation seems to be around finding a ‘home’ in Jesus.
"What are you looking for?" he asks. And in response they said to him, "Rabbi" – which translated means Teacher – "where are you staying?" And again in response, Jesus said to them, "Come, and you will see."
Their question "where do you live" seems to indicate a desire to ‘be with’ Jesus not just in a physical sense, but in a relational one as well.
In essence then today’s readings speak to us about finding our ‘home’ in Jesus, which really means to find ourselves in relationship to him. As Saint Augustine expressed ‘You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless till we rest in you’.
To find our home in Jesus is to find not just the relationship in which we belong, but in a true sense it is to find our identity also. In finding him, in knowing him, loving him – in being with him and following him – we also discover who we are. We are most truly ourselves in union with Jesus, who is our way, our truth and our life.
So in these early days of 2015, let us strive to find our home in Jesus who is endlessly inviting us into closer relationship. Let us listen in quiet moments for his invitation – often whispered at unexpected moments – "Come and see", and let us courageously do so.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia. He currently serves on the General Council and is stationed in Rome.