This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.
Many comic plays and movies have made a wonderful mockery of the invitation, "Walk this way."There are two references to walking in this passage; the second being, “Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going….”
Walking, I am told, is the most difficult skill the human animal ever learns. Indeed we are the only animal that habitually walks on two legs and clearly prefers it. We encourage our children to walk upright, don’t slouch, carry your head high, and so forth. Some teenagers adapt a particular style of walking as a mark of identity. We often recognize people at a distance by the way they walk or by the sound of their footsteps. During the Christmas season we imagine the toddler Jesus mastering this extraordinary skill, and the delight of Mary and Joseph as they watched.
If walking is such a human activity we should not be surprised at the scriptures urging us to walk just as he walked.
How did he walk? In light! Saint Matthew describes the ministry of Jesus as he advanced from Nazareth to Capernaum as the coming of the light. Recalling the ancient names of these familiar places he wrote:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.Wherever he went there was light. This life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
A pragmatic generation can be maddened by John’s admonition. Exactly how does one walk in the light? What am I supposed to do? is there a DIY manual? Will a yogi teach me this skill? How about Youtube? (I tried to learn the swimmer’s turn from a youtube video and ended up three fathoms deep in a neighbor’s swimming pool.)
All I can say for that is: prayer, penance, the sacraments and our fellowship. Young men learn to be catholic from older Catholic men; young women learn from older women. We learn to walk together. No one should be far ahead of the Church or far behind, especially because we’re all spiritually disabled in one fashion or another, and unable to walk very fast or very far. If we’re a marching army we proceed only as fast as the slowest member, both in retreat and advance. I think of Saint Thérèse who became a great saint as she cared for the most difficult women in her community.
…if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 7