By Brother Francis, M.I.C.M.
In the early days at Saint Benedict Center Brother Francis Maluf gave twenty-four talks to a class on the book of John.
Brother Francis’ commentary on Saint John’s Gospel is his greatest work in Biblical exegesis. The first three Gospels, he explains, are called “synoptic” because they follow the same basic chronological course in relating the history and teaching of Jesus Christ. Saint John’s Gospel, on the other hand, is not as concerned with chronology but with the teaching and more stupendous miracles of the divine Christ (the raising of Lazarus, for example) and His eternal generation as Son of God.
At the time Saint John picked up his quill to write this Gospel the errors of Cerinthus were still reverberating in Asia Minor. The crafty heresiarch amassed a following of disciples by proclaiming that a God-man, having two such natures in one divine Person, was a contradiction, an impossibility. In the place of truth he invented a new Messiah, a man who was Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, the Christ, who dwelt in Jesus from his baptism until his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemani. Jesus, the man, suffered and died. Christ the divine ascended into heaven before the Passion. Saint John disciples pressed him to write a refutation of Cerinthus’ teaching. This “refutation” is the fourth Gospel, written around the year ninety-six., when the “beloved Apostle” was an old man.
Brother Francis notes that ninety per cent of John’s account is material not found in the other Gospels. It begins in eternity: “In the beginning was the Word.” The theme of the Gospel is the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, having been made “flesh” in the Incarnation: “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.” Most of John’s Gospel records the teaching of Christ, with the addition of certain miracles unrecorded in the other Gospels. The five chapters devoted to the Savior’s divine words and actions at the Last Supper, and His long prayer to His Father for the Church (13-17) are expounded with an exquisite wisdom by Brother Francis.
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Listen to the first class: