Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“The disciple whom Jesus loved.” I don’t think there is a more beautiful definition that can describe the apostle John, whose feast we celebrate today. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. That’s not to say he didn’t love others as well, but certainly this youngest disciple of all had a special place in Jesus’ heart.
This is the great theme of favoritism. We must not forget that because of favoritism Cain kills Abel, Joseph’s siblings get rid of their brother, and Saul tries to kill David. We cannot stand that someone is more loved than we are. But this is precisely what the Gospel announces to us: Each of us is like John, is like Abel, is like Joseph, is like David; is, in other words, a favorite in God’s eyes.
Indeed, to be more precise we should say that God’s great favorite, the only Son in His eyes, is Jesus. Each of us by entering into communion with Him shares in this favoritism. St. Paul will say that we have become “sons in the Son” (Rom 8:29). We really experience spiritual life when we let this favoritism mark us indelibly. But instead, we spend our time thinking how much others have that we do not.
Today’s Gospel describes for us the Easter morning race. Peter and John run together but when they arrive at the tomb John lets Peter go in first. Love always comes first but love is not enough; it takes discernment, it takes the Church, it takes a meaningful relationship, it takes Peter to truly recognize Easter.
Today’s feast tells us that we cannot do without two things: feeling both personally favored in God’s eyes (spiritual life), and at the same time in need of someone to help us discern the Truth (the Church).
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.