‘We have found the Messiah’

Second Sunday of the Year B

This week’s verses reflect the enthusiastic response of the first disciples to Jesus and their eagerness to spread the news about him. Fr Adrian Graffy reflects.

John 1:35-42

35 On the following day as John (the Baptist) stood there again with two of his disciples, 36 Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ 37 Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ 39 ‘Come and see,’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.
40 One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah,’ – which means the Christ – 42 and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

Other readings: I Samuel 3:3-10,19 Psalm 39 (40) I Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20


Our reading this Sunday is taken from the later verses of the first chapter of John, which is generally read during the Christmas season. These verses cover the early days of the ministry of Jesus. We have a last glimpse of John the Baptist, who heralds Jesus for a second time as ‘the Lamb of God’. Jesus is the one who is to lay down his life like an innocent lamb ‘for the sins of the world’. This is the purpose of his coming into the world, the purpose of the Son of God ‘becoming flesh’ and ‘living among us’.

Attention quickly moves away from John the Baptist to the conversation between Jesus and the two disciples. They follow Jesus, but he challenges them with the question ‘what are you seeking?’ This is translated here as ‘what do you want?’ They counter this question with another, ‘where do you live?’ Jesus invites them: ‘Come and see!’

The time they spend with Jesus makes a deep impression on them. Andrew cannot contain his enthusiasm. He is convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. He calls his brother Simon Peter. When Jesus meets Simon Peter, he does not hesitate to enlist him among the disciples and immediately gives him the new name, Cephas, which means Rock.

These verses are marked by the enthusiastic response of the first disciples to Jesus and their eagerness to spread the news about him. This eagerness is an echo of the first reading, in which Samuel is called as a boy to be a prophet. When the good news of salvation comes, when the encounter with the word of God arrives, it cannot be contained or suppressed. It is imperative to let others know!

‘What are you seeking?’ What would be your response to Jesus’ question?

How often do you invite others to ‘come and see’ something of your life of faith?

We pray that, as another year begins, we may meet Jesus with new enthusiasm.

Let us have the courage to make Jesus known to others, as the first disciples did.

INT-IMG_5349 Fr Adrian Graffy (3)Rev Dr Adrian Graffy is a member of the Vatican Commission that takes a lead in Bible scholarship, interpretation and promotion in the Catholic Church.

Rev Dr Graffy said of his five-year appointment by Pope Francis in 2014: “It is an honour to be nominated by Pope Francis as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. I feel humbled and very much look forward to being of service to His Holiness and the Church.”

He added: “A great deal has been achieved in England and Wales in recent years by many co-workers to advance Biblical scholarship and the provision of easy-to-use resources. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them and the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis for their efforts to promote understanding and love of the Bible, particularly through the publication of the teaching documents, The Gift of Scripture and the study guide to Verbum Domini, The Word of the Lord.”

Rev Dr Graffy received his doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome in 1983. He taught for over 20 years in St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, and is Chair of the National Scripture Working Group, which is an instrument of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Fr Graffy is a past director of Brentwood’s Commission for Evangelisation and Formation and parish priest of Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park, Essex. Among his publications are the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans (Alive Publishing).

Listen to BBC Essex interview with Fr Adrian Graffy