……from your Pastor’s Desk
“But whoever lives the truth comes to the light ….”
Saint John the Evangelist lived these words. He not only wrote them in his Gospel account, his life reflected these words. His life was an icon of these words.
St. John the Evangelist is called “the Beloved Disciple”. He’s called this because he was the only apostle to stand fast at the foot of the Cross. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus by selling Him for thirty pieces of silver. The other ten apostles turned tail and ran. Peter even lied about knowing Jesus. But St. John the Beloved Disciple stood fast at the foot of the Cross.
While the other apostles saw the Cross as utter darkness, St. John saw the light. John saw the Cross for what it really is. We need to do the same during Lent. We need to see the light that shines from the Cross.
There’s another fact that also distinguishes the Beloved Disciple from the other apostles. He was the only apostle to die of old age. That is to say, St. John was the only saintly apostle not to suffer martyrdom. St. John died an old man, in exile on the island of Patmos in the eastern Mediterranean.
One of the unique features of John’s Gospel account is the extent to which he comments on the words and actions of Jesus. These commentaries obviously were the fruit of his years and years of prayer, through to the end of a long life.
Take today’s Gospel Reading as an example. This passage is eight verses long, but only two of them present Jesus’ speaking. The other three-fourths of the passage are Saint John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, commenting on what it means to follow Jesus. This commentary begins with one of the more famous verses of the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Yet the passage doesn’t stop there, and neither should our reflection upon today’s Gospel passage.
This passage is not only about God’s love for us. It’s also in turn about the love we must have for God. “…whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”
These “works” of which St. John speaks are not just religious works: works of stewardship that we do for our parish. The Beloved Disciple is speaking about the whole of a disciple’s life and all of that life’s thoughts, words, and actions.
Being Catholic means that one’s whole life is held up to the light of the Gospel as taught by God’s Church on earth. Living the truth doesn’t mean ‘spinning’ the truth, but submitting oneself to the truth with all its consequences, both earthly and eternal.