Classes on the gospel and letters of Saint John
Saturday and Sunday March 19 and 20 the Mepkin community was given the wonderful opportunity to learn about the Johannine writings from Father Tom Stegman, SJ, of the faculty of Boston College. In two classes on Saturday, Father Stegman helped us to appreciate the features of this gospel drawing our attention to the high Christology of the author, referring us to the difference in approach from the synoptic authors and enabling us to see the importance of ‘signs’ and the ‘I am’ statements in the text. We were told that John loves irony and so we need to grasp the multiple meanings as we take in any given portion to this gospel. On Sunday evening, Father Stegman reviewed the three letters of John with us, asking us to note that letters 2 and 3 are more personal letters or postcards but contain important theological content. It is in the first letter that we receive the very important sentence “God is love.” And Father Tom made us recognize the second sentence “God is light” for the very important way it informs our living together as a community of faith. He also invited us to pause and reflect on chapter 3 of this first letter, specifically the portion “See what great love the Father has in letting us be called children of God…”. These classes were a very rich experience for us and we concluded the sessions promising to pray for Father Stegman.