An Invitation Mirrored: Come and See

I noticed the line in last weekend’s Gospel, a repeat of an earlier invitation offered by the Lord. Earlier:

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” (John 1:35-39a)

And on the outskirts of Bethany, at the tomb:

When Jesus saw (Mary) weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” (John 11:33-34)

I don’t have the Greek text, nor do I have enough knowledge of the language to discern if “come and see” is just a common expression or if it has any linguistic or idiomatic meaning.

But the invitations struck me as I was reflecting a bit more on the John 11 passage. As we seek God, seek faith, and possibly look to Jesus, we might hear the invitation to “Come and see.” It’s a good invitation to accept, and many do. If we keep our eyes open to see, we will see a lot. And that will move us deeper.

In John 11, Jesus encounters the depth of human mourning. He asks a question similar to the one the two disciples first asked him those many months before. “Where?” The mourners invite him to the center of their tragedy.

If “Come and See” has become something of a slogan for people exploring the faith, or an encouragement to go deeper, it seems appropriate that in turn we invite the Lord into the depths of our struggles and our pain. This weekend’s readings suggest he himself is intimately familiar with pain and death. Can we invite him into our pain? Can we imagine God asking, where are you going; what are you doing; how are you feeling? We say,”Come and see.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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