Jesus dwells in what house?

Ian J Elmer

How does God speak to us? Or, to put it another way, how does God reveal the divine being to us?

The term “revelation” comes from the Greek word “apocalypse”, which originally meant a vision or a dream. The bible has numerous stories of dreamers and visionaries to whom God revealed divine being – today’s first reading tells of the child Samuel who hears God calling him while he slept in the temple. But, for the most part, such numinous experiences are rare.

In the bible, there is a great deal of speaking to God; but little conversation the other way, at least to those who are not prophets and sages.

The prophet Habakkuk complains that God’s failure to respond to prayer more regularly and explicitly is the cause of Israel’s faithlessness (Hab 1:2-4; cf. Is 64:12).

The bible is littered with demands that one be silent and listen to God (e.g., Job 33:33; Ps 4:4; Amos 8:3; Mal 2:2; Zep 1:7; 2:13; 1 Cor 14:28; Rev 2:7; 3:20). Yet those of us who profess allegiance to the Judeo-Christian tradition cannot always suppress a sense that, no matter how hard we listen, we often do not hear anything. So, we are once again back to the question with which we began: how does God speak to us?

In today’s gospel, two disciples of John the Baptist – one of whom was Andrew, Peter’s brother – encounter Jesus who, in John’s Gospel, is proclaimed as the Word of God made flesh. The scene is played out in a manner that appears so mundane. The disciples ask Jesus, “Where do you live?”; to which Jesus replies, “Come and see!”

There is an incredible irony here.

For Judeans in Jesus’ time, as well as Israelites in the time of Samuel, the temple was the dwelling place of God; it was the one place in all the universe where God’s glory broke through from the realms of the sacred into the profane world. And yet here, in the person of Jesus, those two disciples have met and seen the dwelling place of God’s glory (Jn 1:14), in other words, the true temple of God.

So, how do we hear the voice of God? The simple answer is in many and varied ways: in the wonders of creation; in the touch of a human hand; in the stories of prophets and sages but, most fully, it is in the person of Jesus of Nazareth and in his “house” that the divine being is available and ready to speak to us.

Today’s gospel is an invitation to “come and see [ where Jesus lives]”; to reflect on his story; to listen to his words; and, thereby, to hear afresh the voice of God speaking directly to us in Word and Sacrament within the community of disciples.

Ian J Elmer

© Majellan Media 2021

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