To Listen, Follow and Share
Photo: ChurchArt Online
“Whoever loves me will keep my word…”
John’s community did not know Jesus directly, but they learned to love Jesus through listening to what John taught them. We do not know Jesus directly, but we have learned to love him, following the tradition of keeping Christ’s word that our family and/or friends passed along.
As part of human development, we learn to obey from our parents and teachers; we obey because we love them. The community that John accompanied listened to and observed their teacher and remembered the message of the Teacher from Nazareth in his “spiritual testament.” They then practiced and preached about the relationship between loving Jesus and doing what Jesus taught.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”
Those who were living when the Fourth Gospel was written must have felt very close to Jesus when they received and passed along Christ’s message of love and peace. Many of our forebears, starting with the Faith generation of John’s community, suffered for their beliefs. I am very grateful to all those who kept the Faith alive throughout the many generations since the Gospels were preached: all those parents and grandparents, dedicated laity, religious and clergy who appealed to their neighbors by words and example, arts and sciences, to keep the light of Faith burning. Some of you who read this may not be “cradle Catholics”; how do you feel toward those who influenced your choice to convert to Catholicism or other expressions of Christianity?
In our day, after we become confirmed followers of Jesus, we then share our experiences with others as the community of John did. Our evangelizing may consist in showing what it means to be a disciple of Jesus with our immediate family, co-workers or fellow students and others, not only in words but in how we look out for those less fortunate, being inclusive and respectful, enjoying and listening to others, and sharing our cultures. To keep Jesus’ word, we may work for peace in the world, the preservation of God’s creation, or carrying out the works of mercy.
All of us can ask ourselves, why do I remain a Catholic Christian? What do I do to make Jesus’ life and message more attractive to our fellow Christians or to people who are observing and judging what it means to be a Christian?
Sister Anne Dolan, OP