Today’s passage from the First Letter of John features a word that is used over and over again in the evangelist’s writing: “Remain.” The sad fact is that these letters as well as the Gospel of John were written at a time when many were leaving the community. The promised return of Jesus did not happen as quickly as was originally thought. Discouragement, especially in the face of the persecutions of the Roman empire, motivated some in the community to give up.
This phenomenon has been part of the Church’s history since the very beginning. We have seen it in our own time. Not only have many religious left their communities, but hundreds of ordained men have also turned away from their ministries. The general Catholic population has also seen many defections. So although this letter was written in a different time and in a different situation, the message is just as important for us as it was for John’s community.
Discouragement in the face of such defections is understandable. That is why it is so important for us to stay connected to God and to one another. “Remain in him.” The faithfulness of God and of Jesus is unquestionable. Our fidelity must be just as unquestionable. Jesus is present to us through the Eucharist. How blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb!
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator