The Mark of a Disciple!

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

This is perhaps the most overlooked passage in Scripture, even while being one of the most famous.  Somehow, people read it and think it says, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have correct doctrine” or “if you speak in tongues” or “if you’ve mastered Greek” or “if you can explain C.S. Lewis” or “if you go to mass.”  Now it’s perfectly true that going to mass or knowing Catholic doctrine are important.  It’s even true that C.S. Lewis and little Greek are handy to have under your belt.  And some people even have the gift of tongues.  But none of these things are what the verse actually says.  It says, “if you have love for one another” you will be known as a disciple.  If we go to mass, learn the catechism, read Lewis, master Greek, speak in tongues, wash dishes, clean the toilet, and crochet in mere pride, it will sooner or later be evident to all what the motivating factor really is, whatever we say.  But if we do these things in love, however minor the task, God will shine through us.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • This fits with the “grenade” argument in the forums.