December 27, 2017
(St. John, Apostle and Evangelist)
Concerning his faith, his witness of Jesus and his hope, John wrote, “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. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.” 1_Jn_1:1-4
For three years the apostles devoted their lives to following Jesus and learning His teachings. Jesus taught them through stories or parables, through direct proclamation and by His own example. And everything He taught them was based on God’s love.
It was through God’s love that incarnate Jesus came to be with us in the first place, which is the whole reason for our celebration of Christmas. It was through that love that Jesus healed people from their spiritual and physical infirmities. It was because of that love that people flocked by the thousands to listen to Jesus. And it is in that love that God’s Church and our fellowship with Jesus and our brothers and sisters in the faith, are still in existence some 2000-years after Jesus had departed from us in the Body.
In his Gospel and through his Letters, St. John describes Jesus as the Word of Life. He describes God as the Light that dispels all darkness. He describes the darkness as our sinful actions and our hatreds. And then he continues by describing God Himself AS Love!
In his First Letter, John wrote; “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” 1_Jn_4:16-19
When that love of God and our neighbor is brought to perfection through the Holy Spirit living within us, beloved, then we discover what Life is really all about. And that discovery will bring us Joy, just as it did for John!
Every time we reveal the love of God to others, every time we share in the Life and joy that it brings to us and can bring to others, that Joy within us becomes even greater.
John, who was there at every teaching of Jesus. John who there at the Transfiguration of Jesus. John who sat right next to Jesus at the last supper. After all he had heard and seen and lived, finally came to truly believing all of it – at that entry into the empty tomb.
And yet, beloved, true faith is not needing visible proof, but believing without it. John described Thomas’ lack of faith and Jesus’ response when He said, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
We can come to believe all that was said about Jesus in the Scriptures because it was in the past. We can love without bounds with a little practice, just as He taught us. Now the question is – can we truly have faith enough to believe in the eternal life that Jesus promised our futures, without ever seeing it. Can we have faith enough to believe that one day, after we leave this mortal body, just as Jesus did, we will be resurrected, body and soul, just as He was, to live forever with Him? This is our Faith. This is our love. This is our Life. And this is God’s promise! BELIEVE!
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