Was that Jesus Who Just Passed By?

Feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

First Reading: 1 John 3:7-10

Children, let no one deceive you.
The person who acts in righteousness is righteous,
just as he is righteous.
Whoever sins belongs to the Devil,
because the Devil has sinned from the beginning.
Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil.
No one who is begotten by God commits sin,
because God’s seed remains in him;
he cannot sin because he is begotten by God.
In this way,
the children of God and the children of the Devil are made plain;
no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God,
nor anyone who does not love his brother.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. (3cd) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy before the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD comes;
he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Gospel: John 1:35-42

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 he 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.


I remember standing outside the children’s hospital chapel, staring at a beautiful mosaic of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, whose feast day is today, and not caring one damn bit. Our son was undergoing his second of seven surgeries and I was feeling exhausted.

My husband squeezed my hand and whispered, “Let’s go in.” We found two chairs in that tiny chapel and sat in silence. I soon heard the rustling of fabric. The Dominican Sisters had arrived to pray the rosary with us, namely Sister Elizabeth Ann.

By nature, I’m not much of a hard-core rosary reciter. But this one? This one I will remember all my living days.  There was so much beauty surrounding me and I just couldn’t see it, y’all. For the exhaustion, the fear, and the worry were consuming me. It was paralyzing.

I had forgotten that Jesus was passing by, and often, in my daily life. He sent us to a phenomenal Catholic school just a month before Luke’s birth. He sent Sisters to pray with us at all the right moments. He put that beautiful mosaic of Saint Elizabeth Ann, patroness against the death of children, right in front of me. Pull your head out, Kathryn, and see Him.

“What are you looking for?” Jesus asked those men in today’s Gospel. My answer to that question, for better or worse, is a barometer of where I am in my relationship with God. Is my answer selfish—a full night’s sleep, a bank account in the black, a working car, a paid-off student loan, a slimmer waist? Or, is it reliance on a God—am I looking for peace, fulfillment, joy and love?

Nothing like dropping the bomb on big and important questions to ask as we kick off 2017, right? But let’s get serious, ladies. Where are we allowing God to stay in our life? On the fringes? Waiting in the wings until it’s convenient to invite Him in? Don’t leave God on the porch of your life. You’re better than that; His love is bigger than you can imagine. And like the disciples who dropped everything to follow Jesus, we too, are called to notice Jesus passing by, drop everything, and follow unwaveringly behind Him.

The disciples in today’s Gospel remind me of this gem from a weekend retreat I attended many years ago: make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ. Our whole life is discipleship. Every day, we have the opportunity to drop all we have, follow an awesome God and let Him stay forever. Do it again today.

Kathryn Whitaker and her husband, Scott, have 6 awesome kids, teen to toddler. She is a former public relations consultant turned freelance graphic designer, party planner, organizer, and preemie advocate who hails from the Lone Star state. You can find out more about her here.

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