January 4, 2020
by Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious
Lectionary: 207

1 John 3:7-10
Psalms 98:1, 7-8, 9
John 1:35-42

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The big question here, and the one that can be considered as the gateway to all that John writes about in his Gospel, is “What do you seek?"  Note that Jesus is not asking who the two men are seeking, but the more open question of what it is that they are after. 

This is a question each of us must ask ourselves.  To put it rather simply, suppose that I live in Omaha and want to go somewhere: until I decide whether my destination is Des Moines or Denver there is no point in my starting to go anywhere. 

...and yet that is not absolutely true, as the trip itself can be just the education and formation that I need, through my personal experiences and the input of those who are on the road with me, to help me to really determine my ultimate goal.  And if we are seeking God, as Christ implies with His question, each step will actually be leading us where we want to go, whether we are aware of it in the moment or not; we might think of the second chapter of Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.

Do I follow the road others determine in a blind or superficial manner?  Do I work towards a career or accumulating resources as if they were ends in themselves?  Or is all that just part of a deeper search and quest?  This examination goes all the way down to the smallest of things.  St. Ignatius Loyola speaks of  "finding God in all things" (and by implication seeing "all things in God"), but it all comes down to segment #23 of his Spiritual Exercises, the “First Principle and Foundation,” which I won't cite at length here but which you can easily find on the web. 

What we seek in the end is not principles, not a system, not even a little essential truth, but the Person of our God, Jesus Himself, who is so much more, who speaks to us, challenges us, calls us, and constantly heals us – something no principle, system, or truth can offer. 

Considering all of this, I might ask myself the same things as Jesus does in terms of both today's first and second readings: “What do I seek?”  “Is that enough?”  “Who do I seek?”

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