COVENANT COMMUNITY -JOHN 2:11-4:54
A covenant community is a dream of Religious life. An African proverb says, "If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together." For a religious community having its long standing vision need to value the beauty of journeying together. The Gospel according to St John chapters two to four(2-4) gives an insight on what means to be a covenant community, while we read it from the following three dimensions;
3 types of questions - 3 WORLDS
A historical question:What really happened?The world behind the text
An Editorial question:what the evangelist tries to communicate? The world in/of the text
A Hermeneutical question:what does the text mean to me? The world in front of the text.
We can analyze this gospel from two perspectives; Divine revelation and human response. The divine revelation, the words, deeds and miracles of Jesus, the Messianic Era transcending and transforming, a new understanding of worship where Jesus himself becomes the temple, a life giving presence of God. Human response is about the faith with which we respond to this divine revelation. The first disciples we see Mother Mary, John the Baptist, Samaritan woman and the royal official. In their journey of faith they moved from no faith to partial faith and to true faith. They went beyond their religious and social barriers by becoming inclusive and egalitarian.
This is an invitation for religious communities to transcend and to transform alienation and rejection into communion with each other. A journey of faith for personal experience of Jesus with unconditional trust. We need to obtain freedom of a child of God, be more committed, inclusive, integrated in order to build an egalitarian and covenant community which is God centered.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD DISCOURSE - JOHN 10
The identity crisis of the Jews that they went through after they accepted Jesus as their savior brought confusion as expressed in the Johannine community. The forth Evangelist in his writing want to enlighten the people that Jesus is the personification of the God of Israel, the God who became a real challenge and a threat to rulers. Being aware of the political, social and religious situation at that time Jesus becomes a radical revolutionary, calling himself the Good Shepherd, one who enters through the door, gives life in abundance, lays down his life and knows his sheep.
As Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, we need to go beyond the image that we all have of a tender, loving and compassionate Shepherd who carries a sheep on his shoulders, and critically look at the social, political, and religious structures of our world today and challenge them. We are invited to be more committed in order to defend the sheep and risk our life so as to give new life to the vulnerable women, girls and children.
FRIENDSHIP MODEL OF LEADERSHIP JOHN 13
The washing of the feet in Johns Gospel signifies the powerful manifestation of Gods saving, redeeming power, his unconditional love and perfect equality. Jesus inaugurates a new covenant relationship of total commitment between himself and his disciples.
To understand better the Gospel of John 13, we look at three models of service;
Rich- poor - slave, master attitude
Poor- rich - the poor depend on the rich e.g. student - teacher, patient - doctor
Friendship model of service.
Jesus embraces the third model of leadership whereby service is an expression of unconditional love and equality, sharing freely and joyfully for the well being and welfare of others. This model emphasizes and affirms each community member as a friend whereby service becomes a spontaneous expression of love for one another. Our acceptance of each other as friends and gifts from God, helps us to form a covenant community that is joyful and committed to mission.
In the covenant community, three things are essential;
We are called to be rooted in Gods' experience
That experience should be lived in the Community.
Community exists for Gods mission.
In conclusion, when we experience God, and that experience is reflected and lived in the community, we become partakers of Gods mission and therefore our new covenant community becomes a temple of God.