2nd Sunday Ordinary Time – Follow Jesus Where? Walk Where? Walk How???
John’s gospel usually has a take on Jesus’ story that seems both fresh and challenging. So, of course that happens in last Sunday’s gospel. Following Jesus involves walking… How did John the Baptist recognize Jesus? His swagger? His panache? Nah. Jesus walked like the Lamb of God (!)
John 1:35f The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”
Meaning what? He walked by as the Word of God, the Light of the World, the Bread of Life! He walked by as the one who’s ministry is to overcome the alienation humanity suffers from which is demonstrated in our own plurality of sins.
The gospel portrays such alienation above all through the image of “darkness…” when God sends “the Light” into the world for its salvation, human beings reject the Light, preferring to remain in the darkness lest their misdeeds be exposed… [Brendan Byrne, SJ]
Here is what Jesus teaches about walking…
John 8:11f She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 11:8–10 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.”
John 12:35 Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going.
Here is what we humans do walking – hide, lust, create idols, & walk in blindness…
Genesis 3:8–10 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
2 Samuel 11:2f It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, “This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
Psalm 115:5–7 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; they make no sound in their throats.
Isaiah 59:8–10 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths. Their roads they have made crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace. Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us; we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, groping like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among the vigorous as though we were dead.
Hence, the challenge of walking with Jesus has to do with walking from darkness into his light; it has to do with being seen as we are in the Light.