Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
Yesterday, the sobriety of the Church’s teaching directed our attention to St. Stephen Martyr, firstborn in the name of Christ. Today, the Church directs our attention to St. John the Beloved Disciple. For if sobriety is the watchword of the Christian life, it is a “sober intoxication” to which we are called, and that “sober intoxication” is a phrase which well describes that love which is revealed to us in Jesus.
The encounter with Jesus engages all of us: our souls and minds and hearts, and also our senses, as the first letter of John indicates. Jesus is the Son of God become flesh, and so we can see and hear and touch Him, as John did. He is fully human, and has come to fully share everything about us. But not on our terms, not in the sinkhole of human sensuality, but rather, on His terms, taking on our sense based lives, and purifying them with a heart that is wedded to the heart of God.
In union with Him, we are lifted into the very life of the Holy Trinity. But not as fleshless Gnostics or false mystics, spiritualists floating off into la-la land. It is flesh and blood reality, the grittiness of a winter’s birth in a cave, a lifetime tramping the dirt roads of a rural land, meals and weddings and sick beds, in the end, a shared feast of love, and then a death in agony and abandonment. But that is not all: for the best will come after that, breakfast at the Sea of Galilee, and a Heaven which is open for eternity. The mud and the stars, and all of it in company with the One who alone embodies Love, forever, for us.