St. John the Evangelist did some pretty amazing things. Not only did he give us a wonderful account of Jesus’s life, but through his mystical experiences, the letters he penned, and a life shared with Jesus’s Mother, Mary, St. John taught as well as inspired.
But you know, his greatest accomplishment and by far the best gift he has given to every generation since, is the clear and consistent message that you and I are loved.
Let that sink in for a moment.
You are not held in high esteem by God because you are accomplished or successful or learned or wealthy. And He didn’t launch a rescue mission to bring you home because you were worthy or good or a really nice guy to your neighbors. You are loved by God, St. John says over and over again, simply because you are His.
Have you ever seen that sign held up by individuals at countless baseball and football games, wrestling matches and pretty much anywhere crowds are gathered?
C’mon slacker, I know that you have.
The sign always says the same doesn’t it?: John 3:16.
And what is that?
It is shorthand for John’s most famous and beloved words about God’s view of the world.
It reads: For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that all who believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
Those are pretty powerful words.
Now, I know what you’re thinking because I have thought of them too.
It’s something like:
Yeah that’s good but I’m broken. I have destroyed what I can never build. I have hurt what should only ever be protected. In the language of the Bible, I have sinned, and I am just about convinced that there is no going back.
Well, hold that thought.
When the Church reflects on the life of St. John, artists and theologians alike have deemed it appropriate to place an eagle near him in some way; do you know why?
It is actually to convey two very important truths.
The first is that John’s Gospel looks at the life of Jesus from a 3,000 ft view, from an eagle’s vantage point. And from that view, it is obvious that Jesus is the beloved Son of God before all ages.
The second truth is just as important.
It is the fact that John, through the episodes he chooses to relate and even the words he selects, makes it clear that our lives are seen from this aerial view as well.
That’s right. God sees all of your life, your struggles as well as your wins. Your good days as well as the bad.
And after all of the data has come in, I mean all of it, our God still calls you beloved.
Slacker, do you know what that means?
That means that no matter what sewage you have poured on yourself,
…no matter what mud you are steeped in,
…no matter what poison you have decided to drink or marred image you continue to identify with, our God still loves you.
That’s not going to change.
But the real question is, will you?
St. John the Evangelist, friend to saints and slackers alike, pray for us.
Patrick Sullivan is a Catholic Speaker and the President of Evango, a Catholic Media Organization that seeks to build a culture of Catholic evangelization and missionary discipleship. Patrick travels internationally to speak at Catholic events, parenting conferences, and to lead retreats and parish renewal missions. His new groundbreaking Catholic Parenting program, “Me & My House” has been streamed on Shalom World Tv, and is available on Formed. Patrick draws on his rich educational experience as well as his work in Catholic catechesis and evangelization to inspire the faithful in all walks of life to know, to love, and to live their Catholic faith. Patrick lives in beautiful Barry’s Bay, Ontario with his loving wife, Kyla, and their nine children.
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