bible blog 330

This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church: Feast of St. John Evangelist

Reading 1, 1 John 1:1-4

1 Something which has existed since the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have watched and touched with our own hands, the Word of life — this is our theme.

2 That life was made visible; we saw it and are giving our testimony, declaring to you the eternal life, which was present to the Father and has been revealed to us. 3 We are declaring to you what we have seen and heard, so that you too may share our life. Our life is shared with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing this to you so that our joy may be complete.

Gospel, John 20:1a, 2-8

1 It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb 2 and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,’ she said, ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

3 So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb.4 They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. 6 Simon Peter, following him, also came up, went into the tomb, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground 7 and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.

Guido Reni's image of St.John Evangelist

These readings are for the feast day of St.John, the evangelist and supposed author of the three Letters of John, who used to be thought the author also of the Revelation. Most scholars would now doubt that all this literature comes from the same hand, while recognising that the Gospel of John and the first letter have a close relationship, and the other books are indeed connected to this “Johannine” tradition. The gospel passage( above) shows that some also identify the “disciple whom Jesus loved” with John, the author of the Gospel. There are many who would dispute this. There seems to be however no reason, other than the general uncertainty of such attributions in the early church, to dispute the identification of the author of the Gospel with John son of Zebedee and brother of Andrew.

The passage from the first Letter above shows the characteristic themes of the Johannine writings: the eternal origin and historical nearness of the Word- made- flesh; the life of Jesus as a divine life shown openly and shared with all human beings; and the joy that results from this sharing. The Greek for “shared life” is koinonia, which was taken from the commercial life of the Greek world where it meant a joint enterprise and was used to describe the group life of what we would now call “social enterprises”: clubs and free associations with a variety of purposes. This central concept, which is also used by St. Paul, is connected in the Johannine writings with a sense of intimacy and tenderness between Jesus and his disciples, who are depicted as having a real understanding, often denied in the other gospels, of Jesus’ mission. It is not surprising that “John” is the first writer to declare simply that “God is love.”

Even more perhaps than the doctrine of the Word Made Flesh, this teaching of a life shared between God and believers and amongst the brothers and sisters of the believing community, expressed in tender loving-kindness, is John’s great contribution to the understanding of Jesus Christ.

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