ST. PHILIP and ST. JAMES
MP: Psalm 119: 137-160; Job 12:1-12; John 1:43-51
EP: Psalm 139; Proverbs 4:7-18; John 12:20-26
The NYC parish that sponsored me for priesthood is one of the parishes that regularly participates in New York City's Gay Pride Parade. The parish always has a theme around which they structure the parish's involvement; usually taken from Scripture. One year the pride committee decided on a phrase from today's MP Gospel: Come and see. We were excited about this "find" and ran it up the chain of command to the rector asking if this would be acceptable as the parish's slogan. The phrase was rejected, because of the double entendre which the committee knew was there but thought would be okay.
The rector was still tender from the fall-out from the previous year's slogan which was: fruits of the spirit. Older gay and lesbian individuals in the parish were greatly offended by this choice as it reminded them of abuse hurled at them from years past when "fruit" was utilized as an insult. So the rector was understandably more attentive and careful of the choice of slogan for this succeeding year. He did not want to face the potential onslaught of criticism and anger that might have moved his way had he approved the phrase from John's Gospel. Although disappointing we moved on and found another Biblical phrase that passed muster.
I never hear this Gospel account without thinking of that incident. Come and see is such a powerful yet simple statement, made by Philip to bring in a new disciple. Throughout John's Gospel seeing is a constant theme. We heard a few weeks ago in Sunday's lectionary, which is much later in John's Gospel, how Philip wants to see the Father in order to believe, and Jesus responds that anyone who sees him sees the Father. Seeing, really seeing, is what Jesus is saying, and I think Philip, right after he was called by Jesus to join him today, was able, in that instant, to really see, although later on he has trouble seeing. Isn't that part of life? Where we can be clear eyed at one moment in life and murky eyed the next moment. We need to treasure those moments of clear eyed seeing and remember them in the murky times.
Can we really see with eyes unobstructed through our own self-imposed blinders? Can we invite people in to Come and see the Body of Christ as we are living it out in community and the world? Opening our eyes, we can and will see and can and must invite other to Come and see. Even if we see only for an instant.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.