When someone says “I love you the most,” and if there are sufficient acts that corroborate the statement, probably we could say the the person is telling the truth, because that person is speaking about one’s own feelings. But, when one speaks for someone else in those lines, like “He loves me the most,” taking for granted somebody else’s feelings, when the other hasn’t explicitly made any such statement, well, that’s something else.
In Gospel terms, the former is much like St. Peter, and the latter fits into the character of St. John the evangelist. Today, the holy Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. John the evangelist. From tradition, we know that John was the last apostle to die. He was the youngest. He was the only apostle who stood by the Cross of the Master. His reflections are deep: his version of the gospel and letters are different from that of the others and not easy to understand. Surely, his style is different and as mentioned above much more, he claims to be the most loved disciple.
What makes John different? In today’s gospel, we see that John, upon hearing that Jesus is risen, runs ahead of Peter, but waits at the entrance of the cave in which Jesus was buried. Peter came late, entered first, only then did he enter the cave. He knew, Jesus appointed Peter as the leader and he respected the Master ‘s choice. Or else, someone who calls himself the most loved disciple, would not have waited for a gesture from the disciple who disowned Jesus. On one ocassion, when all the disciples had passed away and only John was surviving, when there was unrest in church of Corinth near to Ephesus (John was the bishop of Ephesus), there again we see that John didn’t interfere, but let the bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, take the decision. This is so much different from the John, who his mother, wanted to sit at the side of Jesus in His kingdom. There is no wonder if Jesus loved him the most.
In this Christmas season when we celebrate the birth of the infant king who emptied himself and took human form, St. John is a very good model to imitate in humility. Like John, let us too proclaim the Christ whom we see, touch and experience, and make our joy complete.