"Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus…."
When I first read today’s Gospel, the phrase that immediately caught my attention was: "They looked for Jesus…."
As human beings, I believe that we were created to be in relationships: relationship with God, relationship with other people, and in a sense, relationship with ourselves–to become the person God created us to be and to celebrate who we are. When all three of these relationships (God, self, and others) are in harmony, we are most fully human.
Whether we realize it or not, it seems that we are all on a journey to find that certain something that will bring meaning, fulfillment and purpose to our lives. We may spend many years in this pursuit. There appears to be a vacuum created inside of us that yearns to be filled and we may try many different possibilities in our attempt to fill that "hole in our soul."
This was certainly true in my life. I spent many years trying to fill that hole by "looking for Jesus" in all the wrong places–in the acquiring of material possessions, in the desire for honor and prestige, and ultimately in the comfort of various addictions that caused damage in all of my relationships. None of the options that I tried ever came close to filling that hole. It wasn’t until I finally surrendered and acknowledged my need for help, that I discovered the Person of Jesus.
Further along in John’s Gospel, chapter 15, verse 16, Jesus reminds us; "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you." I think God creates that vacuum within us that only He can fill.
Jesus continues to seek a personal relationship with each of us and it is through His love that we experience a sense of connectedness, a deep intimacy that brings serenity, inner peace and joy into our lives. Jesus restores right relationships in all areas of our lives as we "look for Jesus" in the faces of all those we encounter each day.
Deacon Brian Clements was formerly a member of the staff at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, California.