Gospel Reflection Saturday (4 June) – 7th week of Easter – Lord, what about him?
Anne O’Brien, our Director of Mission, reads from John’s Gospel (21: 20-25) in which Peter questions Jesus about the disciple John and in response Jesus says, “If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter you? You are to follow me”.
Anne notes an ancient tradition associated the Beloved Disciple, who is mentioned here in the Fourth Gospel with the apostle, John. In the Synoptic Gospels, John has a lesser role to Peter among the apostles. But in the Fourth Gospel, the Beloved Disciple is almost on par with Simon Peter. He is the ‘hero’ of the Christian community that produced the Fourth Gospel – the one who testifies to the truth about Jesus.
In today’s Gospel passage, Simon Peter asks, ‘what about him [the Beloved Disciple]? Jesus’ answer led some people to think that the Beloved Disciple would not die before the Lord returned in glory. Since he had died by the time the Gospel of John had been written, the author stresses that people misinterpreted Jesus’ word.
Anne explains, tradition holds that John [the Beloved Disciple] was the last of the Twelve to die and did not suffer martyrdom. While martyrs are always honoured within the Christian community so, too, is a life of long and faithful witness to Jesus and to his new commandment to love one another as he has loved us.
Anne notes that this is an interesting Gospel to finish our Easter season and finishes with this prayer:
Father, Open our minds to your word revealed in the Scriptures. Confirm our faith by filling our hearts with the Holy Spirit, And so enable us to live out our lives following your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.