Et qui vidit, testimónium perhíbuit
for Easter 2019
1. Et qui vidit, testimónium perhíbuit: et verum est testimónium ejus. Et ille scit, quia vera dicit: ut et vos credátis. He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth. (John 19: 35)
2. We hear these words of St. John, the Beloved Disciple, in the liturgy of Good Friday. They come at the end of his account of the Passion of Jesus. This is St. John, the Beloved Disciple, the one who stands with the mother of Jesus at the foot of the Cross. St. John therefore gives us his eyewitness account.
3. St. John tells us the reason for his testimony: “so that you also may believe”.
4. But, believe what? That Jesus died on the cross? If that was so, then the Gospels would end with this death on the cross. But, the Gospels do not end here. The Gospels continue beyond the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus. The Gospels testify to His Resurrection, His appearances, His Ascension, and beyond.
5. St. John gives us the answer my question in the last line of his Gospel: “these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in His Name” (John 20: 31).
6. It is this belief that we proclaim every Easter. It is this belief that we proclaim at every celebration of the Eucharist. It is this belief that we proclaim every time we act with love and understanding. It is this belief that roots and sustains us in our Christian discipleship.
7. And we are called like St. John to testify to this belief. As Christians every action we take, every thought we express proclaims our belief in Jesus as the Messiah, as the Risen Son of God. Or at least it should. And, we should be conscious that this is so. Our actions and our words either proclaim the love of God offered us through Jesus the Christ, or our actions and our words are a counter-witness to this belief.
8. The truth of the belief in Jesus as the Messiah, as the Son of God, is His Resurrection. Are we living witnesses to the Resurrection? Or do we testify that either the Resurrection is not true or that it has had no lasting effect?
9. As Catholics we venerate the saints as people who have been witnesses to the truth of the Resurrection. We also take the saints as models in living our faith. Each of the saints in his or her own way testified to the belief in Jesus as the Messiah, as the Risen Son of God. And, in so doing, they had “life in His Name”. One of these is St. John, the one who saw and believed, and had life in His Name.
10. We also have seen. Through our participation in the liturgy of the Church we see the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. We see; we are witnesses. And, in seeing we are called to belief, and we are sustained in this belief. And we are called to testify in our own way. We are called to testify so that others may also believe. We make our testimony with every action we take, and every thought we express.
11. Let us pray that, like St. John, the Beloved Disciple, our testimony in word and action may be true.
Given this 21th day of April, Easter Sunday, in the Year of Our Lord 2019, the fourteenth of my episcopate, at Toronto, Ontario.
Most Reverend J. Roger LaRade, O.F.A.
Église Catholique Eucharistique-Eucharistic Catholic Church
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