Who did you come to see? A version of this question is posed by Jesus many times in the Gospels. He asks it of Andrew and John when they begin to follow him. He asks it of Mary Magdalene in the garden of the resurrection. He asks it in today’s Gospel. “What did you go out to the desert to see?” There is something innately human about “seeing.” Animals have eyes — some with much more powerful vision than our own — but that’s not the kind of seeing Jesus is talking about. We could phrase the question several other ways. “What are you looking for?” “What are you longing for?” “Whom do you seek?”
It is in seeing for ourselves that our suspicions or hypotheses are confirmed, that our desires discover their fulfillment, and that we can rest for a moment in certainty. John the Baptist sought certainty of Jesus’ identity. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus sends word to him based on the testimony of sight, observations of the mighty deeds Jesus has begun to work. “Go and tell John what you hear and see.”
God recognizes our desire to see. In the Incarnation, the Word is made flesh. The invisible is made visible. The supernatural is made manifest in an infant who can do little more than the most natural of movements as he feeds, cries, sleeps. We don’t need to wait for Christmas to see God. The work of God is all around us. Those blinded by sin “regain their sight.” People overcome backgrounds of poverty and violence to make world-changing contributions. Addicts grow and heal. Truth is spoken, and people listen. Let’s pray for the grace to see God’s movement in our lives this week. How have you seen the work of God?