Daily Reflection
December 27th, 2007

John O'Keefe

Theology Department
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It’s two days after Christmas and our Gospel reading today suggests resurrection. This is wholly appropriate. Very few were able to see who Jesus was when he was born. For most, that reality can only be grasped over time. Even his closest disciples had a hard time seeing it. In today’s Gospel, John and Peter appear to be completely clueless that a resurrection would follow the crucifixion and death. Peter and John enter the tomb together and the light of understanding begins to dawn on them. Jesus, that Christmas baby, was “the word of life made visible.” Through Peter and the beloved disciple we confront head on the utter wonder of the incarnation. With the psalmist, they and we can proclaim, “rejoice in the Lord, you just!”

But, as I read these texts I am struck by more than their theological density. The first reading especially possesses an evangelical tinge. By this I do not refer to modern Protestants, but to the core meaning of the word “evangelical” as proclamation. The author of 1 John proclaimed what he saw, namely “the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.” John the Apostle and evangelist was not embarrassed by his faith in Jesus. He did not keep it to himself, in his private heart. Instead he proclaimed and professed. He passed it on.

We owe much of our own faith in Christ to what John saw. His vision helps us to understand the depth of God’s engagement with the world. Yet, John also serves as a model for us to follow. We need to pass on what we see to others, so that they, too, might understand more deeply and clearly. So today I am challenged more by John’s evangelical and apostolic dedication than by his theological insight (although that is pretty cool).
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