Casa Faith Formation Newsletter
January 15, 2024
Here's What's Coming Up:
John was standing 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."
So they went and saw where Jesus was staying,
and they stayed with him that day.
It was about four in the afternoon.
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter,
was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus.
He first found his own brother Simon and told him,
"We have found the Messiah" — which is translated Christ —.
Then he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said,
"You are Simon the son of John;
you will be called Cephas" — which is translated Peter.
Can I Get a Witness!
Upon Reflection: We begin Ordinary Time with a Gospel that is often used in the Church today as a means to invite (i.e invitation to become Christian or Catholic or to join a religious order or to enter the priesthood, etc.) The two disciples of John the Baptist want to know where Jesus is staying, so Jesus says to them, "Come and see." In that one line, the Gospel has provided a blueprint on how to evangelize (make disciples) and how to catechize (pass on our Faith Tradition), and we have been using that blueprint for the last 2000 years.
Notice what Jesus does not say: He doesn't say anything equivalent to, "Come and you will learn about where I am staying over a series of lectures." Nor does he say, "Come every Sunday morning from 10 AM to 11:30 AM for CCD and you will know where I am staying."
He doesn't even come close to saying something like, "Enroll in a Catholic school, and then you will know where I am staying." No, the blueprint that the Gospel leaves us for making disciples and passing on our Tradition is not about "schooling." It is about "witness." Jesus does not try to teach or describe to Andrew and the other unnamed disciple where he is staying, he simply says, "Come with me and I will show you."
This is perhaps one of the most difficult things for the everyday American Christian to understand. Our society is so entrenched in academia and is so convinced that the only way to learn is through the classroom model that we have a hard time envisioning a Church operating in a different way.
And so, far too many of us view Sunday school or Catholic school or "Catechism class" as the primary means through which we today learn about Jesus and our Faith Tradition. We shutter at the notion that the primary place for faith formation is not in the classroom but actually in the witness of you and me. We do not feel authentic in the role of showing others where Jesus is staying by our daily example.
Sometimes I wonder how many people who call themselves Christians are even aware of this great responsibility. But make no mistake, this is what it means to be a member of the Church. Religious instruction and schooling are helpful, but they are secondary. The primary way through which others come to know where Jesus is staying is through the witness of all who claim to be members of the Church. How seriously do you take that responsibility?