As Catholics, we have a reputation for being basically incompetent when it comes to knowledge of and application of the principles found in scripture. This is a shame, not to mention a real disability when it comes to the practice of the faith. St. Jerome taught: “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.” We know that Jerome was so taken with the bible that he physically moved to a cave very close to the site of the Nativity so that he could be inspired as he translated the early scriptures into Latin for the world to read.
When you get to know the bible, you come to understand it is not just a “bunch of stories and/or rules” but rather a road map that summarizes all of history and lends order and logic to the human race and why we do what we do. One of the most interesting examples of this logic is the appearance of the two pivotal Johns. We have John the prophet and John the evangelist. They basically “book end” Jesus and his ministry. They lend insight to Jesus, his purpose and what he did while on earth.
Interestingly enough, both Johns have traits that are similar. They were both mavericks and, to put it mildly, pretty radicle in their thinking and preaching/writing. John the Baptist was out of the norm, no matter whose definition you are using. He did not look, act or speak like any faction of popular culture of the day. Wild eyed, bombastic, unwashed, and with a strange diet. There were even some who said he was crazy. St. John the Apostle had his own peculiarities. Nicknamed by Jesus himself, he was one of the “Sons of Thunder”, and when passing through a Samaritan town he fully wanted to “set them on fire” because they did not give Jesus proper respect. His writings are often in a zone with visions and descriptions of other worlds, angels, bowls of incense, scores of those dressed in white vestments and a luminescence that can’t really be described.
No matter whether you think these Johns are sane or logical or not, they both have an identical mission. That’s the message each brought to their time: God is here, pay attention! These guys are the pre and the post. They both carry a message that can’t be ignored whether you believe the message or not. Their demeanor and presence will make you think. Both bring the example that we have a radicle, ever present God. If you are seeking God, don’t think you will always find him in the most ordered, quietest places. He is to be found in the middle of the fray, in the midst of the confusion.
God, then, demonstrates his persistence and constant love for us. Clearly, He sends us information that “the message” is always there for the taking, before we are ready to listen, when we are listening and after we think we have listened enough. He never leaves us clueless. His guidance is always hidden in plain sight and always available. There is no secret to his love and care for us. John the Baptist called us to look out and always be aware. John the Evangelist fills us with hopes and visions and something real to strive for after this world. He gives us the hope of dimensions we can’t see but are very much a part of. In the long and the short of it, we have everything we need to be part of God’s dream for us right now. The idea that God doesn’t speak and we have no way of knowing how he acts in our life is quite simply a lie meant to stir discouragement and inaction. Don’t get caught in that obvious trap!
©2017, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved