‘I Wonder When’ by Father Sam Natale

John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the “Lamb of God.” At that time, the first two apostles started walking after Jesus. After they had followed him a bit, Jesus turned around and asked them: “what are you looking for?” Then, they asked Jesus, “where are you staying?”. He answered them with an open invitation, refusing to answer directly: “Come and see.” Jesus appears to have taught frequently by asking QUESTIONS. Questions that went to the heart of the matter of what life can or should mean. The disciples had to WAIT (just like us) for answers to emerge and empower us to take another step in the journey.

Most of life is a waiting game: we wait for elementary school to end, then for high school to end. Then we wait to finish college and for the perfect job—the perfect partner, then the perfect life.

We seem always to be waiting in either hope or anxiety but nonetheless waiting. Everyone waits – the Disciples, the Saints even Jesus had to wait “for the appointed hour.”

Most of us wait in considerable fear. I say this based on evidence of 44 years of priesthood.

But there is no shortcut to completing our search. Instead, we all must journey into that uncertain road filled with detours, wrong turns, unexpected quicksand, and various labyrinths requiring confused choices.

Leonard Cohen famously wrote, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” I have no universal answer acceptable to all. Still, I can share what I perceive through the “cracks” inside me.

I look for the same solution the apostles did, but I am left with the same challenge to “come and see.” I ache for the magical answer, but it is not there unless I look through the eyes of prayer. That focus on prayer requires quite a change, at least in me. As St. John Chrysostom said: “Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has to offer, and this requires transforming greed into gratitude.” This is always the way.

How will I get through this valley of tears and uncertainty? I remain humbled and lost. But then I recall several confused apostles asking Jesus to show them the Father. Jesús’ answer is stunning and salvific. Jesus answers, clearly and without nuance: “when you see Me, you see my Father.”

That’s all I need at least “for the blind see, the deaf hears, cripples walk again, and the poor have the good news preached to them.”

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