by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Now when we take a few moments to reflect on the scripture lessons today, to try to listen together to this word of God and let it enter into our minds, our hearts, our spirit, and transform us, we must first of all remind ourselves of something about the Gospels — they are not biographies. They are not historians sitting down to write the facts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Rather, they are theological reflections.
If we are really going to hear the word that this Gospel and the Gospels in general proclaim to us, we have to understand them for what they are. Over a period of time after Jesus finished his public life and was executed and rose from the dead, the communities of disciples began to reflect on who Jesus is and what their experience of him was as he entered into their lives now in this new way — the risen Jesus.
They began to collect the stories and the events of his life and to share them, giving witness to who Jesus is, and then gradually, they began to be written down. In each place where they were written down — different communities: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — they were written with different perspectives and different purposes. John’s Gospel, such as the part of it that we hear today, was written especially as a way of demonstrating who Jesus really is: crucified, raised and now present living in the community.
The focus is on who Jesus is and what he does for those who follow him. It’s about the risen Jesus and trying to emphasize all the different events in the life of Jesus that point to who he truly is: Son of God, Son of God, not simply a human son of Mary. If we look at the Gospel lesson that today is from John, we will discover how John sees what is happening and describes it as a sign to tell us about Jesus…