John 1:35ff is more than just a story about the first disciples. The evangelist presents a model for those who would follow the Lord. We are pointed in the right direction by a mentor, a teacher, a parent, a peer. We move toward Jesus because we are attracted to him. We engage in a conversation; not just absorbing a string of facts or passages in catechism. We have an encounter. We engage in a dialogue. We move from there. Following implies movement. There is no static existence when following.
244. The very nature of Christianity therefore consists of recognizing the presence of Jesus Christ and following Him. That was the marvelous experience of those first disciples, who upon encountering Jesus were fascinated and astonished at the exceptional quality of the one speaking to them, especially how he treated them, satisfying the hunger and thirst for life that was in their hearts. The evangelist John has portrayed for us the image of the impact produced by the person of Jesus on the first two disciples who met him, John and Andrew. Everything starts with a question: “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38). That question is followed by the invitation to live an experience: “Come and you will see” (Jn 1:39). This account will remain in history as a unique synthesis of the Christian approach.
245. The very same question full of expectation is asked today in our Latin American continent: “Rabbi, Where are you staying?” (Jn 1:38), where do we find you adequately in order to “initiate an authentic process of conversion, communion and solidarity”? Which are the places, the persons, the gifts that tell us of you, put us in communion with you, and enable us to be your disciples and missionaries?
If we are not aware of questions posed to us, we need to listen more deeply.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.