April 29, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am taking the good news today from John 21:20-23.
Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, “Master, who is the one who will betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just “What if I want him to remain until I come? [What concern is it of yours?]”
Chapter 21 is titled ‘Epilogue.’ It is widely agreed by scholars that this chapter was added by someone other than John. On the other hand it appears in all the early manuscripts and it has content that doesn’t appear elsewhere. So, Moloney concludes in The Gospel of John, “[I]t must be regarded as an ‘epilogue,’ something that belongs to the Gospel as we now have it, and not just an ‘addendum’ or ‘postscript’ added as an afterthought.
What about him? This is a question the early Christians must have had. Jesus essentially tells Peter not to worry about it; Peter has his own commission to worry about. As Barclay writes, “As Jesus said to Peter: ‘Never mind the task that is given to someone else. Your job is to follow me.’ That is what he still says to each one of us. Our glory is never in comparison with other men; our glory is the service of Christ in whatever capacity he has allotted to us.” Jesus has a call for each of us that is of no concern to anyone else. I would do well to keep that in mind.
Peter and John were the two most important disciples and closest to Jesus. Yet Peter had been chosen by Jesus to shepherd his flock. So, what was John’s role to be? Moloney explains these verses in this way, “Living in the in-between time, after the deaths of Jesus, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple, the community has a link between the events of the past and the experience of the present, and the Beloved Disciple’s witness provides it. He was a disciple of Jesus who both witnessed ‘these things’ and then became the author of a record that transmitted ‘these things.’ The witnessing is still present because of the record. On the basis of this recorded witness, alive despite the death of the Beloved Disciple, the community can be confident in the knowledge that their Jesus story and the life-style they are living as a consequence of that story are true. Peter is the appointed shepherd of the flock and the Beloved Disciple is the bearer of the authentic Jesus tradition.”
So, what about me? What is my role? We each have our own faith journey that is personal to us, internal. However, Jesus made it clear that we each have a commission as well. We are each sent. It reminds me of my charisms. Writing was one, so I think I’m being called to continue writing these reflections. I still write principally for myself but others apparently find value in them for their own faith journey. So, we can continue to journey together.