Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27 - St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

+ St John the Apostle and Evangelist was a son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of St James the Greater and a fisherman; he with his brother James were called the sons of thunder, due to the enthusiasm with which they approached the work of the apostolate when they were disciples of Jesus.

John was first a disciple of John the Baptist and then a friend of St. Peter. He was called by Jesus to be a disciple (and later Apostle) during the first year of his ministry, and traveled everywhere with him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. He took part in the Last Supper, and was given pride of place there, when Jesus allowed him to express his love for him by laying his head on his chest during the meal, and the next day was the only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Savior in the hour of his Passion, standing at the foot of the cross, with Mary the Mother of Jesus, whom he received into his home at Jesus’ request.

Upon hearing of the resurrection, John was the first to reach the tomb; when he with the Eleven met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize him. During the era of the new Church, he worked in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and most likely the Book of Revelation. He was the last of the Twelve to die, as a special grace and favor of the Lord to whom he was indeed the beloved.

In fact, the Incarnation of God’s love found in Jesus was ever the theme of John’s entire life and preaching: when he was very old, and there were gatherings of Christians, John would simply say to them: “My little children, love one another.” John died in exile, most likely on the island of Patmos, the only Apostle not submitted to a martyr’s death: not that he was not willing, but by God’s favor.

May we today pray for the grace to understand fully the mystery of the Word-Made-Flesh, (as fully as he wishes to reveal it to each of us, which will be on a different depth and level for each of us, and the enormity of the Divine Love for all of Creation that is found in the manger of Bethlehem, a place which sang sweetly of the fact that now with the arrival of this Babe-Messiah, all is well, all is really well for those who want it to be: may our lives reflect the life of the one in whom we are indeed baptized and sent to tell the “good news” story of: Christ the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord, you just.

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