Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
Do you believe in the resurrection? It may seem like a silly question. However, St. Paul writes in his First Letter to the Corinthians that unless you do believe in the resurrection, your faith is in vain.
If you do believe in the resurrection, how does it change your way of life? Do you, do we act any differently than those who don't believe?
St. John's First Letter, which will be the featured second reading for Sundays during the Easter Season. That letter is what Scripture scholars call "highly contextual." In other words, the letter addresses a specific situation in a specific community with a specific answer. The community was experiencing division as a group had come to the decision to split away. Barely one hundred years had passed since the Resurrection, and the community was already being rent asunder by differing opinions.
St. John reminds the dissenters that faith in Jesus Christ can conquer the world. However, that faith must lead us to keep the commandments. The dissenting group had come to the conclusion that the obedience to the commandments was no longer necessary since they were already saved. St. John is referring primarily to the commandment to love one another in this context. Love in this context is understood as "loyalty" to the community. By splitting off from the community, they were violating that commandment. St. John emphasizes that all who believe, all who place their faith in Jesus, are identified by that commandment. By this shall all know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another (John 13:35).
Believing in the Resurrection must be more than mental assent. It must manifest itself in love for God and in love for all our brothers and sisters. There is no room for exception.