The Word Among Us

Saints & Heroes Resources

Come and See

We can all know the Lord.

Come and See: <em>We can all know the Lord.</em>

Christmas is such a magical time for little children.

For weeks, they are wondering about the gifts they will receive. And then finally, the day has come to open their presents. The day of revelation has come when they will get to see what is in those packages under the tree. In a similar way, as we adults approach Christmas, Jesus wants to give us gifts. He wants to reveal his glory to us. He wants to fulfill our deepest hopes and desires through this revelation, giving us the same joy and sense of promise that St. John described when he wrote, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory” (John 1:14).

This is the real promise of the Advent season. Of course, we can't see Jesus in the same way that John saw him when he walked the earth. But each of us can see Jesus in the same way that the saints have seen him for the past two thousand years. Like them, we can know his love and feel his presence moving in us. Like them, we can embrace him in the living bread of the Eucharist and in the quiet of our prayer.

A Simple Invitation. "Come and see." With these words, Jesus invited Andrew and a friend to spend the day with him (John 1:39). By the end of the day, Andrew came to see Jesus as the Messiah. He was so excited by what he had found that he went to his brother, Simon Peter, and said, "We have found the Messiah" (1:41). Andrew's excitement must have been contagious, because Peter agreed to come meet this Messiah too.

Andrew and the other apostles all accepted Jesus' invitation. When they met Jesus and spent time with him, they saw more than a prophet or a good teacher. Even if it was just an initial recognition that needed further testing and strengthening, they saw that he was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Just a little time with Jesus was all they needed for him to touch their hearts and change their minds.

It all sounds very exciting—but also very long ago. The real question we should be asking is, "How can I meet Jesus like they did?" And the answer is quite simple. It begins when we accept Jesus' invitation. Every day Jesus invites us: "Come and see. Come get to know me. Come enjoy my presence." Once we accept his invitation, all that is required is that we spend time with him, just as Andrew and the others did. That could be at Mass, in Adoration, or in personal prayer—anything that puts us in touch with Jesus and moves our hearts with his love.

The Breaking of the Bread. Another story of revelation is told near the end of Luke's Gospel. On Easter Sunday, after Jesus had risen from the dead but before he showed himself to most of his disciples, two of his followers were walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. They were still grieving Jesus' death when he came up beside them and started talking with them. Mysteriously, neither one recognized him; in fact, they began to explain everything that had happened on Good Friday. They told him how sad and abandoned they were feeling now that this great rabbi had been killed.

Quickly taking the lead, Jesus called them foolish. He told them that they were giving him a human analysis of the events instead of believing that Jesus would do what he said he would do. Then he proceeded to teach them from the Scripture. He pointed to Moses and the prophets and showed how the Messiah had to die—and how he really would rise again. Jesus' words were so compelling and so full of promise that these two disciples felt a burning in their hearts—a sense that his words were right, and that there was still great hope.

Later, when they sat down to dinner together, Jesus took some bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. In one amazing split second, the disciples finally recognized who this fellow was. Immediately, they turned around and went back to Jerusalem to tell everyone what had happened.

Every week, millions of people relive this story as they go to Mass. We come with weak faith, wanting to be strengthened. We come wanting to deepen our relationship with Jesus. We hear the word of God and a homily, which is intended to excite us and move us to burn with love for Jesus. Then, when we receive Jesus, we have the chance to recognize him and to be filled with the same joy that filled the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

The Spirit of Revelation. Luke tells even more stories about Jesus revealing himself in the Acts of the Apostles. He begins Acts by recounting Jesus' promise to his apostles: "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. . . . You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:5, 8). Then, when Pentecost came, the Spirit was poured out, and people's lives were changed, just as Jesus had promised.

From that day on, exciting stories of God's power flowed from Jerusalem and eventually filled the whole world. On Pentecost, three thousand people received revelation about Jesus from the Spirit. A short while later, in Caesarea, Peter told a Roman centurion and his household about Jesus, and the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as he had on the apostles (Acts 10). Then, in cities like Corinth, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Colossae, the same thing happened over and over again: the apostles preached, and the Holy Spirit revealed the glory and mercy of Jesus to more and more people.

Brothers and sisters, this very same Holy Spirit who energized the early church is with us this Advent. And, just as it happened then, the Holy Spirit wants to tell us all about Jesus today. At the Last Supper, Jesus had promised that the Spirit "will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I told to you. . . . He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you" (John 14:26; 16:14).

This is the first and most important job of the Holy Spirit: to reveal Jesus, the Word, to us in greater and greater depth. And from the very beginning, he has been doing his job, ministering to our needs and comforting us by telling us that Jesus, the Lord of all creation, loves us deeply and is with us.

Come and See. Just as Jesus asks us to accept his invitation to come and see, the Holy Spirit ask us to let him reveal Jesus to us. Every day, the Holy Spirit stands before us and says, "Let me tell you how much Jesus loves you. Let me show you how magnificent he is. Let me fill you with his power to live a holy life. Let me guide you in all your ways." All we need to do in response is to say, "Come, Holy Spirit; fill me and my family. I want to know Jesus more today."

We want to wish all of our readers a blessed Christmas. May we all come to believe more deeply that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, wants to reveal himself to us. May we all trust that he wants to give us great and wonderful gifts of grace and wisdom and courage. And most of all, may we all accept his invitation to "come and see" him every day this Advent. May God bless you all.

Transformed through Revelation. When God speaks to us, when we accept Jesus' invitation to come and see, we can expect certain things. While it is almost impossible to explain how revelation occurs, we can give some idea of what happens as a result of this revelation. Here are just a few of the more common responses:

We experience a desire to give our lives to Jesus. His love sparks a new and deeper love in us. We may feel like the woman who poured out the jar of perfume on Jesus' feet (John 12:1-8). We may say, "It is good to give to the poor, but it is not a waste to pour myself—all of my love and all of myself—on Jesus."

Revelation can lead us to a deeper appreciation of God: who he is and what he did through the cross. The Holy Spirit may show us more of God's eternal attributes: his omnipotence, his perfection, and his justice. He may show us how all of these attributes were revealed when Jesus came among us.

Revelation often leaves us with a deep sense of peace, joy, or love. It may happen because we see how much Jesus loves us. It may happen because we see his mercy in a new way or because we now trust that he has us in the palm of his hand.

Sometimes revelation moves us to change an area in our lives that is not in right order. It may move us to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a special grace to repent and to strengthen our conviction to change.

Revelation can also have a powerful effect on the burdens of life that we carry. We may experience God lifting our burdens or carrying it with us. People with life-threatening illnesses are comforted; people with family problems or financial challenges are energized; and people who are guilt-ridden find new hope.

Revelation can also point to the Church. The Holy Spirit may show us how his grace and love are upon his people. After spending time with Jesus, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael all brought other people to him. Together, they became the body of Christ as they prayed together, celebrated the Eucharist together, and grew closer to Jesus by serving him together.