In the life of the Church we encounter many people. Many may not reflect what we think a “true” Christian should be. Some may be stern and demanding, some hot headed and prone to anger, and some may seem to be seeking the honor of always being in charge or first. It is so easy to look upon those different from ourselves as somehow wrong or “unchristian” when upon closer examination we might find that they are actually “more Christian” than ourselves.
The Apostle John who is commonly held to be the one referred to as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” had a very close relationship with Jesus. However, because of his quick temper and hotheadedness he and his brother James were dubbed by Jesus as “Boanerges” meaning sons of thunder. He and James actively sought places of honor, one on the right and one on the left, beside Jesus when he was to come into his kingdom. For these reasons the other disciples looked with some suspicion on John and James and questioned their devotion.
Even so in the Gospel account attributed to John it is said:
This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. John 21:24.
John’s Gospel, therefore, was recognized by the Church as a “true testimony” through its canonization process. This teaches me that before I criticize a fellow Christian for their personality, or motives, I should pause and remember John who despite his hot headedness, and place seeking, rendered what came to be recognized as a true witness to the Lord by his life and work.
Today we venerate Saint John for his life and work. May we learn from him that not all Christian disciples approach their work in the same way but, even so, all are doing the work of the Lord.