Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John APOSTLE/ EVANGELIST/Writer, teacher, Priest,Theologian – (c 6-c 100) “The Beloved Apostle; Apostle of Charity; Beloved Disciple; Giovanni Evangelista; John the Divine; John the Evangelist; John the Theologian- Patron of love, loyalty, friendships, authors, booksellers, burn-victims, poison-victims, art-dealers, editors, papermakers, publishers, scribes, scholars, theologians, against epilepsy, against foot problems, against hailstorms, authors, writers, glaziers, government officials, harvests, lithographers, notaries, saddle-makers, painters/artists, Asia Minor (proclaimed on 26 October 1914 by Pope Benedict XV), 6 dioceses, 7 cities
St. John the Evangelist had the experience of living with Jesus—walking at His side, watching hHm perform miracles, listening to His teaching and receiving signs of personal love.
Much of what we know about John’s life comes through the Gospels. According to Matthew’s Gospel, John was in a boat mending nets with his older brother James and his father Zebedee when Jesus called them to follow him. Their “Yes!” led to a great adventure.
John and James were called Sons of Thunder, possibly because of their fiery tempers. One example was when people in a Samaritan town would not accept Jesus. James and John wanted to call down fire to destroy the town. At another time the brothers secretly asked Jesus to have the highest place in His kingdom. Jesus explained that real greatness comes to those who serve.
John had the special privilege of being with Jesus at crucial times. With Peter and James, John was permitted to watch the miracle of Jairus’s daughter coming back to life. The three witnessed the glory of Jesus’ transfiguration. They were also the three invited to be with Jesus during His agony in the garden. John’s own Gospel refers to him as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2), the one who reclined next to Jesus at the Last Supper and the one to whom He gave the exquisite honour, as he stood beneath the cross, of caring for His mother. “Woman, behold your son…. Behold, your mother” (John 19:26b, 27b).
Because of the depth of his Gospel, John is usually thought of as the eagle of theology, soaring in high regions that other writers did not enter.
On the first Easter, Mary Magdalene “ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, ‘They have taken the Lord from the tomb and we don’t know where they put him’” (John 20:2). John recalls, perhaps with a smile, that he and Peter ran side by side, but then “the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first” (John 20:4b). He did not enter but waited for Peter and let him go in first. “Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8).
John was with Peter when the first great miracle after the Resurrection took place—the cure of the man crippled from birth—which led to their spending the night in jail together. The mysterious experience of the Resurrection is perhaps best contained in the words of Acts: “Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they [the questioners] were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
The Apostle John is traditionally considered the author of the Fourth Gospel, three New Testament letters and the Book of Revelation. His Gospel is a very personal account. He sees the glorious and divine Jesus already in the incidents of His mortal life. At the Last Supper, John’s Jesus speaks as if he were already in heaven. It is the Gospel of Jesus’ glory!
It is said that when St. John was very old, people had to carry him to where the Christians assembled to worship. Each time he preached, he gave the same homily: “Little children, love one another.” When people asked if he would talk on a different topic, he said that this is the Lord’s word and if they really did this, they would do enough.
St. John, pray that we may understand the mysteries of our faith more and more!