Where are you going? Where are you staying?

January 14, 2018

In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist is doing what he was called to do.  He was pointing the way to the Savior.  John’s disciples begin a relationship with Jesus by asking the question, “Where are you staying?”   It is an interesting twist to our modern conversation.  We are always asking, “Where are you going?”   As children leave the house, as teens take the car, as a spouse jingles the keys or looks for the garage door opener, it is all the same question, “Where are you going?”.  In the workplace when a person leaves the office or when a conversation ends abruptly, it is all the same question, “Where are you going?”  Growing up, whenever I heard my parents say with a stern voice, “Where do you think you are going?”, I knew I was in trouble.

But in this interaction with Jesus the disciples ask, “Where are you staying?”  This is a whole different question.  Where are you staying implies a need to know where you came from.  Asking where you are staying implies a need to know about what keeps you focused and on task.  To ask where one is going is to ask the final destination.  It is a place you can put on a map.  There is a focus on moving forward, but when asking where are you staying you are asking for time to understand or become aware of the surroundings out of which the person is doing the things they do.  It is a different direction.

The response of Jesus is simple, “Come and you will see”.  It is easy to dissect a destination with a map or coordinates for transportation.  It is a relationship invitation to say, “come and you will see”.  The Lord is inviting us on a journey.  He doesn’t just want us to look at the destination, but He wants us to get to know the One who walks with us.  He longs for us to stay with Him long enough to see great things, to experience miraculous forgiveness and to see the healing of souls.  This can happen much more deeply when we are not looking at where we are going or how fast we can get there, which is the temptation when we focus only on the destination of where we are going.  Instead we are invited to come and see the wonders of God and get drawn into the Mystery.

It is all in the question; what are we asking of the Lord?

Reverend John J. Ouper