April 30, 2014
Dear brothers and sisters,
I am taking the good news today from the end of John’s gospel — 21:24-25.
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.
Endings are seldom easy, seldom without sadness or grief over the loss of someone or something. The early Christians had lost Jesus and then they suffered the loss of the apostles and other disciples as the years wore on. The anticipation of the return of Jesus and the disagreements that inevitably plague human communities were taking their toll. As Moloney writes in The Gospel of John, “Troubled by the unanswered questions concerning the nature and mission of the community and questions of leadership and authority, someone had to tell the readers that although the story of Jesus had come to an end another story had begun.”
I often fail to realize that another story will begin with the ending of the one I have been living in. Too often the pain, the wistfulness for what has been lost, obscures the new path that lies ahead. That’s what many of the early Christians faced. It doesn’t matter the age, we’re very much alike — the early Christians and me. Sometimes I want to stay in and other times I’m trapped in the in-between time, the time between what was and what will come to be. However, Jesus was all about sending his disciples and me out to be God’s love in the world, to live as he did in faithful obedience to his Father’s will. The end of chapter 21 emphasizes the end of chapter 20. “These things are written that you may go on believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
I am brought back to the good news of Jesus. That is what propels me into the beginning of a new story, the first footfalls on a new path, embracing the life that Jesus has given me and living it abundantly. Jesus crucified signifies grievous loss while the risen Lord offers me happiness and hope. This is so because I believe that John’s testimony is true.