The Word Was Made Flesh
Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, gives an impassioned meditation on the Scriptural work that St. Clement of Alexandria called the "Spiritual Gospel." In The Word Was Made Flesh series, viewers gather the categorical distinction between Johns Gospel and the earlier composed Synoptics. According to St. Clement, "Seeing that the other gospel accounts set forth only the material story, John, the last of all, entreated by his familiar friends and divinely upheld by the Spirit, wrote the Spiritual Gospel. No one can fully understand this Gospel until they have leaned upon the heart of Christ like the Beloved Disciple at the Last Supper and stood at the foot of the cross, next to his Blessed Mother!" Hence the privileged position of St. John has yielded an eye-witness account unlike any other. Written after 90 AD, much theological reflection and insight were infused into the soul of the text to produce a timeless classic of divine inspiration.
The Prologue of St. John
Fr. Apostoli unpacks the rich layers of meaning contained within the famous Prologue of John’s Gospel. The timeless, eternal Son of God was always with God, and yet he decided to become a human being, entering a specific time and place and taking on human nature. This mystery rightly occupies the mind of the Gospel’s author and all Christians who would like to sincerely believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the cause of our redemption.
The Week of the New Creation and the Wedding at Cana
Fr. Apostoli recounts the first week of Our Lord’s Public Ministry, culminating with the first miracle performed at the Wedding Feast at Cana. The Divinity of Jesus is revealed in his words and deeds, in addition to the testimony of John the Baptist and the first apostles called by Christ.
The Cleansing of the Temple and the Meeting with Nicodemus
Fr. Apostoli lends insight into the pivotal public event of Christ cleansing the Temple, which would cause all Jewish people to be polarized, either for or against him. In contrast to this censure for blindness, unbelief or unawareness of the sacred presence of God in his Temple and especially in the person of Jesus, John provides the refreshing contrast of a Jewish leader asking for understanding from, and coming to belief in, Christ.
Our Lord and the Samaritan Woman at the Well
Fr. Apostoli relates the dramatic story of the Samaritan woman who encounters Our Lord at Jacob’s Well. Jesus leads from a discussion of natural water to the deepest need of the human heart, to be filled with God’s grace. Jesus proclaims that he is the Anointed One expected by his people, and her testimony to Christ leads an entire village to see and believe for themselves the truth of his identity.
Cures Amongst Opposition
Fr. Apostoli recounts the intensified situation in which Jesus finds himself, freely performing miraculous cures amongst a population with leadership hostile to his message and fearful that his authority will encroach upon their own. The actions of Jesus naturally call out for a human response of love, but he is met with stern political resistance and outright opposition.
The Bread of Life
Fr. Apostoli relates the testimony of Jesus, backed up by miraculous signs, that he is the fulfillment of ancient prophecies contained in the Hebrew Scriptures. The fathers of the Hebrews ate manna in the desert, and Jesus declares that he himself is the bread that will forever satisfy, divinely providing for all his people’s needs. Large multitudes are scandalized by his remarks and leave his company. Only the apostles, notably Peter, discern his veracity.
The Living Water and the Light of the World
Fr. Apostoli shares the further unfolding drama of Jesus attempting to make known his true identity, using the analogies of Living Water and the Light of the World. For those genuinely searching for fulfillment and truth, he is the source par excellence. Humility of heart, or receptivity, is the condition for grasping who he is, where he came from, and where he is going.
The Good Shepherd and the Healing of the Man Born Blind
Fr. Apostoli proceeds to discuss the progression of Jesus’ ministry, as Christ opens the physical and spiritual eyes of those are willing to believe in him, while he must censure those who claim to be healthy, in no need of a physician. To those who would receive him, he will act as a Good Shepherd, carefully safeguarding and leading his flock unto eternal salvation. He proclaims that he is the only way to heaven.
The Raising of Lazarus at the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem
Fr. Apostoli relates defining factors which will culminate in the unjust trial and execution of Christ. Jesus chooses to raise Lazarus from the dead after his friend has spent four days in the tomb. After this moment, no one can deny the truth of what happened, nor what this event says about Jesus. If Jesus is allowed to continue his ministry, the people will seek to make him king. In fact he enters Jerusalem and is treated to a king’s welcome, albeit short-lived. Jesus knowingly predicts his Passion and subsequent death.
The Last Supper: Part One
Fr. Apostoli follows the Gospel narrative to the Eucharistic feast celebrated by Our Lord. He defines the nature of his discipleship as one of service led by example. He gives his apostles the priesthood as the means for him to remain with his people always in his Eucharistic presence. He promises that he will send His Spirit to guide his people into all truth, reminding them of all he said and did.
The Last Supper: Part Two
Fr. Apostoli recounts Jesus’ further directives to his disciples on how to remain connected with him even after he has gone. They are to live in his love, keeping his commandments, loving one another as he has loved them. Jesus proves the rightness in his going to the Father and prays for their protection, unity and preservation in the truth.
The Passion and Death of Our Lord
Fr. Apostoli unfolds John’s dramatic firsthand accounts of the suffering and death of Christ, which he underscores as the perfect and purposeful fulfillment of the Father’s will. Jesus’ faithfulness unto death, along with that of his mother and the Beloved Disciple, is contrasted with responses of the figures surrounding him: Peter, Judas, Pilate and the Roman centurion, the Jewish people and leaders. John’s account leaves readers to decide how they will respond to the life and death of Christ.
Easter Sunday and Post-Resurrection Appearances of Our Lord
Fr. Apostoli concludes his survey of the Gospel by highlighting the reactions of the apostles and disciples to Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The Madgalene takes the words of the angels and Christ himself to the skeptical apostles. Peter and John verify her story by visiting the tomb. Thomas finds probative evidence for the resurrection for all time. Jesus further confirms his identity and mission in the hearts of his disciples by numerous signs and appearances. He corrects Peter’s triple denial by encouraging him to make a threefold confession of faith. The author proclaims his own identity.