Today is an appropriate day to celebrate the Rite of Acceptance, which is the first public rite for unbaptized adults (and children of catechetical age) at the beginning of their formation in the Christian way of life. Any Gospel reading may be used for this rite. But today’s assigned Gospel is in fact the one recommended for the rite because it reflects the dynamics of what the rite intends.
The title of the rite sometimes leads people to think it’s about accepting a person into the Christian community. There certainly is an element of that. However, the rite’s intention is to ritualize and witness the dialogue between God who calls and the seeker who responds. God’s call to discipleship is mediated by other disciples: John watches for Jesus and directs his own followers to notice Jesus’s presence.God’s call to discipleship is mediated by other disciples: John watches for Jesus and directs his own followers to notice Jesus’s presence. Click To Tweet
When a seeker takes notice, the question Jesus poses is one of desire: “What are you looking for?” When the seeker recognizes that Jesus is whom they desire, their response is not merely for more information but for relationship: “Where are you staying?” If the seeker enters into that relationship with Christ (“Come, and you will see”), their identity is changed forever.
Every time we celebrate the Rite of Acceptance, we profess that humans continue to seek God but only because God continues to seek us.