What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
(1 John 1:1-4)
1:1 What was from the beginning As in John’s Gospel, John begins this letter with the Word—the embodiment of God’s revelation in the person of Jesus (John 1:1; compare Gen 1:1). we John is referring either to himself only, or to himself and other eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry. the word of life Refers to Jesus, who is eternal life to those who believe in Him (John 3:16–17; 14:6).
1:2 the life was made visible Eternal life is revealed to humanity in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
1:3 may have fellowship with us John is writing to address a division in the community of believers. This community might have been located in Ephesus, where the Apostle John resided near the end of his life.
1:4 our joy may be complete It will be complete by ensuring the health of this Christian community that John loves.
This testimony about Christ is designed to lead to fellowship and complete joy. Fellowship with the apostles means, firstly, having the same faith as those who lived with Jesus: “They saw our Lord in the body,” St Augustine reminds us, “and they heard words from his lips and have proclaimed them to us; we also have heard them, but we have not seen him. They saw him, we do not see him, and yet we have fellowship with them because we have the same faith.”
To have fellowship with the Father and the Son we need to have the same faith as the apostles. St John openly teaches that those who desire to partake of union with God must first partake of union with the Church, learn the same faith and benefit from the same sacraments as the apostles received from the fullness of Truth made flesh.”
Fellowship, communion, with the apostles, with the Church, has as its purpose to bring about union with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” This deep, intimate communion means that, without losing his personality, man shares in a wonderful and real way in the life of God himself. If Holy Scripture uses many different expressions in this connection, it is due to the fact that the human mind, because it is so limited, cannot fully grasp the marvelous truth of communion with God.
Complete joy is the outcome of this communion. This joy, which will reach its fullness in the next life, is already in this life in some sense complete, insofar as knowledge of Jesus is the only thing that can satisfy man’s aspirations.
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.