Feast of St. John, Evangelist

St. John the EvangelistBeautiful readings from St. John’s letters in the readings today. Here, from the USCCB’s site, the Bible section, 1st Letter of John, we have a bit of explanation on the First Letter of St. John the Evangelist:

The author sets forth the striking contrasts between light and darkness, Christians and the world, and truth and error to illustrate the threats and responsibilities of Christian life. The result is not one of theological argument but one of intense religious conviction expressed in simple truths. The letter is of particular value for its declaration of the humanity and divinity of Christ as an apostolic teaching and for its development of the intrinsic connection between Christian moral conduct and Christian doctrine.

Today’s writing on Faith is almost always done in a tone of theological argument, as more and more people study theology.

Education in the Faith versus a Lived Witness

St. John the Evangelist
But the big tension that arises from arguments in theology always comes back to the lived witness of Christian life. As St. John writes:

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched
with our hands

…for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father
and was made visible to us

what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

The emphasis is constant ~ we’ve seen him , we touched him, he is real; really in the flesh, in and about the world. He’s also fully divine, from the beginning, with the FatherSt. John the Evangelist. Fully human, fully divine. The two natures in one person.

St. John does not have to argue from theology, his witness to Jesus Christ helps us to understand theology; it helps us to write out theology and try to understand Jesus Christ in a better way, a more clear image of this Savior of all mankind.

A personal witness from the Apostles, which is handed down through the unbroken succession of Apostles, counts for a lot.

Revelation informs us that in the great battle against evil, “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony;”.

I.e., not only are we saved by the powerful salvific action of Jesus Christ, and his shed blood; we are saved by the testimony of the Faithful. In other words, how are people to know Jesus Christ and to come to him unless we come to know him and share our stories of him? And unless others share their stories with us? St. John here is the prime example of witness.

Questions for Reflection

How does my life reflect my knowledge of Jesus Christ? Is my knowledge of Jesus Christ a learned theology, or is it borne of prayer, reflection and communion? Is my knowledge personal, regarding the person of Jesus Christ and not an academic understanding of him?

St. John the Evangelist, Pray for us.

Fr. Kenneth Allen