“Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus’”’ (John 12:20).
I’m not exactly sure who these “Greeks” are, but I can definitely relate to them. Obviously they’ve heard of Jesus and now they want to see him. Maybe they’ve heard of his first miracle where water became wine and they want to see what this blessing stuff is all about. Maybe, like Nathaniel who openly wondered if anything good could possibly come out of the ghetto of Nazareth, they want to see what this guy from the wrong side of town looks like. Maybe they’ve heard of his healing a lame man on the Sabbath, or his speaking with a Samaritan woman and they want to see what this boundary-breaking radical is all about. Maybe they’ve heard how he fed 5,000 and they want to know his trick or at the very least his business strategy. Maybe they’ve heard that he’s been teaching in the Temple and they want to know by whose authority. I don’t know why they wanted to see Jesus or even what they wanted to see. But I know this: They wanted to see Jesus. And so do I. There, I said it: I want to see Jesus.
We live in a broken world, albeit a crappy one, where the rich get richer on the backs of the poor; where an unarmed 12 year old black child is shot and killed by police while armed white men are allowed to lay siege to a federal building with very little consequence; We live in a world where the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms supersedes one’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We live in a world where we are bombarded by media images designed to scare us into unreasonable fits of ethnic paranoia.
Honestly, I’ve had enough. I want to see Jesus. And I have.
It all started on that Friday before Christmas when dozens of folks from around the city and county gathered together to remember the 14 homeless who died in our community this past year. On that day, the names of those whom the world has long forgotten were remembered. I saw Jesus that day, and his name was Luis, John, Alonzo, Brian, Jessica, Elmyra, Jeffrey, Mark, Jose, Thomas, Ernest, Shawn, Kevin, and Pierro.
I saw Jesus the following Tuesday evening, when a small group of folks with St. Mary’s Homeless Initiative journeyed under railroad bridges, down alleyways, and in the subway tunnels searching for the chronically homeless; bringing food, warmth, and hope to the invisible among us.
I saw Jesus in the faces of those whom we fed this evening at REACH Home as well as in the volunteers and staff who have dedicated their lives to lifting up the lowly and binding up those who are broken.
In the darkness of this cold winter night; In the darkness of this world, I have seen Jesus. He is the light that shines in the darkness. He is the light no darkness can overcome. He is the light no fear, no poverty, no amount of brokenness can overcome. He is the light that not even my darkness can overcome. He is God incarnate, made flesh and dwelling among us: And I’ve seen him in the most surprising places. Blessed Epiphany everyone.
Peace and love,