Bethanie Ryan underscores the importance of a timeless message we find in the Second Letter of John.
Today’s climate is hectic. We thought we knew chaos, then 2020 arrived with COVID-19, racial injustice, and the elections. As always, the Church has a message for us in the Mass readings.
But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another. (2 John 4:9)
2 John is a short letter in our Bible. You could probably read the whole thing waiting in line at the grocery store. It makes it into our Scripture because it was believed to be written by the writer of the Gospel of John and it has a message that is important for Christians of every age.
It was written to a Christian community that was being exposed to false teachers. These teachers were trying to spread gnosticism. Gnostics taught that there were degrees of knowledge leading to God, and some teachings were hidden. One would learn more as they climbed the hierarchy of the Gnostic church. This is what the Bible reading means later by “progressive.” This isn’t the Christian way. Nothing is hidden. We all have access to the knowledge needed to live a good life and to get close to God.
The “Lady” is a literary device. The “Lady” is the church he is addressing. He is writing to remind her that being a Christian doesn’t mean climbing some hierarchy in a church. Being Christian means the same thing now as it did then as it did when Jesus came to Earth. The principal Commandment hasn’t changed. Being Christian means to love.
In this hectic environment, where we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, where we’re probably scared, this is our center. This is what our God always and everywhere asks of us. He asks us to love. This has some practical value, too. Studies have shown that depression and anxiety ease when we go outside of ourselves. Taking care of others helps us take better care of ourselves.
So I would ask you today to love one another. What is something you can do to make someone else’s day a little brighter? Staying safe and following COVID-19 guidelines, what can you do to help the poor and needy around you?
Copyright 2020 Bethanie Ryan
Image: Pixabay (2016)
About the Author
Bethanie Ryan is a work-at-home mom with a young son. She received her MA in Pastoral Ministry from Aquinas Institute of Theology. She has been published in Ignitum Today and Patheos. In addition to Catholic Mom, she currently writes for FemCatholic, Taming the Wilds, and Medium. She is a misplaced Missourian in New York.