“What are you looking for?”

 Jesus asked that question of John’s disciples (John 1:38) and he is asking that of us, too. I have thought about that question when making my New Year’s resolution(s). I invite you to do the same. Answering that question may be the most important resolution you and I make for 2012. Another way of putting it is this: How do you want your relationship with Jesus to grow?  

 That might be a great question to ask young people, too. How do they want their relationship with Jesus to grow as a result of their participation in the ministry of the Youth Gathering? You have several months during which you can ponder that question together. You can create a safe and sacred space for confession and forgiveness as you meet with your group to prepare for the summer experience.

One way to approach answering that question is to identify those parts of yourself that still await integration with following Jesus. Don’t hesitate to bring these areas of your life to Jesus. Jesus understands our human struggles. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who is tempted in every way that we are, yet never sinned” (Hebrews 4:15).

Dick Hauser, S.J., Professor of Theology, and director of the Christian Spirituality Program at Creighton University, says, “The deepest yearning of the human heart is the yearning to live in communion with God — yes, to live in communion even in the awkward and complex and often overlooked areas of our lives.” I encourage you, and I encourage myself, to bring those awkward parts of ourselves into the light in 2012. Jesus is inviting us — as he invited his first disciples — to walk more closely with him in the complexity of our lives.  

We pray for the grace to be open to Jesus’ invitation to follow him more closely in 2012.