In John’s gospel, John the Baptist points his finger toward Jesus. His vocation was to seek the Kingdom of God here on earth and to wake us up to forgiveness and love.
Jesus asks John’s followers, “What are you looking for?” This question echoes across the centuries and into our lives. This is a divine question, meaning it comes from Jesus. We take his questions to heart. Our vocations arise from his voice.
Questions always challenge us. They get us involved in our relationships. Without questions, we never change for the good, we never learn how to love more deeply or to believe with greater strength. Questions help us get over the poison of entitlement or selfishness or believing we are better than other people. “What are you looking for?” is a key question in our time.
We are facing horrific divides in our nation and Church. These may be the most provocative and challenging months in our lifetimes. The pandemic has greater strength than many wars. The labels we have stamped upon other people are more like a hot branding because they seem permanent. We brand people to divide the rich and the poor, the Republican and the Democrat, the conservative and the liberal, the person who is with me verses and the person who is against me, the ones who have and the ones who don’t have. These labels do not express our vocations as Christians.
These labels are absorbing our attention more than our faith. We have somehow believed that politics can hold our entire emotional and spiritual lives as human beings. We have given our hearts away to pollical parties. No political structure can absorb our full identities as human beings. In other words, politics has overshadowed our faith. Politics does not offer us vocations of love. Our faith is in Christ Jesus. He alone questions our motives and our actions. God gives us direction and that direction is always toward love, forgiveness and hope.
So, what are you looking for? We are all looking for a home in this world where we can educate our children and feel like we belong and experience acceptance. We are looking for a true desire to serve other people. We are looking for love.
We all have the ability to answer the question for our own lives. However, what Jesus asks of us is to follow Him, even to the Cross. And to follow him means we die to self and selfishness and learn to live for the common good, for the beauty of life on earth, with responsibility, with justice, with integrity, and with hope for the dignity of all people.
This week as our nation celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. and inaugurates a new president, I want you to sit and ponder the question Jesus poses in the beginning of his ministry. He changed the life and even the name of Peter. Jesus desires to change us as well. Jesus questions us because he loves the world and so desperately desires to find his home within us, within you and within me. Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
God give you peace.