The Beloved Disciple
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Claretian Communications Foundation
2016 May 14, 2016
REFLECTION: In today’s gospel reading Jesus says something about friendship which is worth reflecting upon. He says to his disciples during the Last Supper: “I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father.” In other words, Jesus tell us, true friends are individuals who trust you enough to share with you their most personal secrets and whom you trust enough to share with them your most personal secrets.
Now everybody wants to have friends. But in order to have friends—real friends, not just drinking buddies or shopping sisters—we must deserve to have them. Which means that we must become capable of keeping other people’s secrets, of accepting people as they are, of being willing to share our own dark secrets with others. St. Thomas Aquinas classifies friendship as a virtue. And it sure is, because in true friendship we practice a lot of virtues (i.e. good habits) such as patience, fidelity to our word, forgiveness, kindness, etc. That is why not many people are willing to become friends, because real friendships are so demanding and so painful to our selfishness. But those who accept the rigors of friendship would not exchange them for all the world. They know they have found a treasure.
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Until the very end, Peter exhibited a human quality that is guileless and devoid of pretension. He may be the acclaimed leader of the Twelve but that does not make him impervious to insecurity and jealousy. Called by the Risen Lord for a secret conference, he still got distracted by the Beloved Disciple who tagged along even if from a distance. He has to clarify to the Lord his status.
It is funny sometimes how we cannot bask in the undivided attention of God without checking how others fare in His eyes. We cannot relax in God’s love. We need to be affirmed that we are truly loved every time. This anxiety comes from a troubled heart. After all, in contrast to the Beloved Disciple’s steadfast love, Peter in a moment of weakness had betrayed the Lord. He cannot accept the unconditional love of the Risen Lord.
2018 May 19, 2018
Lord, who is to betray you? Story goes that the beloved’s disciples grumbled among themselves until one of them approached their aging master. “Master, is there nothing else you can preach to us save that God is love? We have heard this again and again.” The aging disciple gently smiled and replied, “Because there is nothing else save that God is Love.” Tradition tells us that the disciples of Jesus were one by one martyred. Only the beloved lived to a ripe old age, perhaps so that he could pass on the Gospel to the succeeding generation which wrote the Fourth Gospel in his name.
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