This reflection will help youth consider what they really desire in life and if their desires are aligned with the path of discipleship.
It’s a fun game. You have three wishes by a genie. You can have anything you want. There are a couple of rules though. These wishes are only to be used to benefit you personally. Wishing for world peace is great, but this particular genie won’t allow it. And no wishing for more wishes!
- What would you wish for?
Allow plenty of time for this discussion. Everyone should get to say what they wished for.
Read 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 Jesus 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.John 1:35-42
Jesus asks the disciples “What are you looking for?” He didn’t ask because they were looking for something they dropped on the floor. He is asking what they want. Perhaps Jesus asked this question to make them think about it rather than to get a particular answer.
They could have been looking for a military leader. The Jews at that time were suffering under Roman rule. Many were hoping for the coming of a Messiah who would overthrow the Romans. They sought freedom from oppression and wished these foreigners out of their land.
Sometimes we look for a savior who will conquer our enemies for us. But Jesus did not come to fight people’s battles for them, especially with control and violence.
- Have you ever wished that there would be some righteous justice brought on somebody who has hurt you?
- Have you wished for somebody to fail or be humiliated?
- Have you tried to control a situation where you felt weak and powerless?
- How might you ask Jesus to help you in these situations?
Another possibility was that they would ask for wealth or comfort. The disciples were not wealthy. They worked hard to get by. Many thought the Messiah would usher in a time of prosperity for the Jewish people.
We also look for somebody to make life easier for us. And while Jesus can certainly comfort us, he is probably not going to show up at our front door with a stack of money or magically fix our problems.
- Do you pray for things to be easier?
- Have you ever prayed for something you really wanted and then felt like your prayer was not answered? How did that make you feel?
- Have you tried praying in gratitude for the things you have instead of praying for God to do more?
The answer the disciples gave to the question “What are you looking for?” is interesting. They said “Where are you staying?” They might be asking for an address, but perhaps they also want to know where Jesus’ heart lives. And it turns out that Jesus’ heart is with the poor and the oppressed, those who are left out and left behind.
How do you answer the question “Where do you live?” Don’t answer with an address. Instead think about where your heart is.
- What takes up the most time of each day for you?
- What are you most excited about doing each day?
- What do you think about when you are daydreaming?
- Which things or activities make you feel most alive?
The answers to these will give you some idea of where your heart lives. Does it live in the same zip code as Jesus’ heart?
The great thing about God is that He doesn’t ask us to become a totally different person. Instead, He asks us to use the gifts and talents and personalities to build His Kingdom. And that is where Jesus’ heart lives – in the Kingdom of God.
- How can you use your wants and desires to build the Kingdom of God?
- What can you do if some of your wants do not have a place in the Kingdom of God? (confession, go to Mass, daily Examen etc.)
This week, spend some time in prayer every day, thinking about what you want out of the day. Ask God to help you use that desire to help build His Kingdom.