When I was in 8th grade many Roman Catholic parishes had their own schools, some of which went all the way through grade 12. I was in a small school whose classes ended after eighth grade. In order to continue to receive a Catholic education I and my classmates were required to take an entrance examination and indicate at the conclusion of the test our first three choices of the high schools we desired to attend in order of preference. There was no preparation for the test and I remember nothing about it except the venue. It was on a Saturday morning in the winter. Anxious 13-14 year-olds were admitted to a large basement cafeteria through a chain-link fence in what I remember as orderly silence. We had spent many conversations in the previous weeks discussing the relative merits of possible choices of schools. Should we go for those that had the best reputations or settle for the ones closest to our homes or those to which we could be more certain of gaining admittance? I have a feeling parents were more involved in the choice than I recall, but my choice between the two top schools on my list came down to the uniform. St. John the Baptist girls were wearing rather unflattering maroon jumpers with long-sleeved tan blouses while St. John the Evangelist had navy blue blazers, white blouses and red & blue plaid skirts. Who wouldn’t have chosen to be an Evangelist girl? The joke was on me as the Baptist uniforms were changed the next year to be exactly like the one I was wearing – except that the plaid skirts were maroon and white! Regardless of the reason, I was lucky enough to be accepted for my first choice and loved everything about my high school days.
Today the feast of St. John the Evangelist is celebrated in my Church. Scripture scholarship now dates the Gospel of John as having been written at the beginning of the second century in the Christian era, thus making it virtually impossible for the disciple “whom Jesus loved” to be the author of the text. it is clear, however, that the themes of the gospel, three letters and the Book of Revelation (those books attributed to him) were carried forward until written down by John’s disciples. One commentary touched a chord in me as my own “golden rule” – a theme which undoubtedly permeated my high school days as well as my adulthood and was more important to my inner life than what I wore to school. The website http://www.americancatholic.org says:
A persistent story has it that John’s “parishioners” grew tired of his one sermon, which relentlessly emphasized “Love one another.” Whether the story is true or not it has basis in John’s writing: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)