The Feast of St. John the Apostle

John 20: 2-8
1 Jn 1:1-4/Ps 97:1-2,5-6,11-12

Then the other disciple also went in, who came first to the tomb, and he saw and believed.
(John 20:8)

John proclaimed what he saw and heard
That we may have Christ’s fellowship.
Believers must all share God’s Word
To be worthy of His kinship.

Mary Magdalene came to the tomb of Jesus and saw the rock covering it removed. She ran and came upon Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and said to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him. Peter and the other disciple went out and they came to the tomb. They both ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and came first to the tomb. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but did not go in. When Peter arrived, following him, he went into the tomb, and saw the linen cloths lying there. And the cloth that had covered His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up in another place. Then the other disciple also went in, who came first to the tomb, and he saw and believed. (John 20: 2-8)

Reflection

The Church celebrates this day as the feast of St. John, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Greater. Among the four Gospel writers, St. John held the distinction of having written the most intimate details about the life of the Messiah. He was the apostle closest to Jesus’ heart, because among them he was the humblest. No doubt He was the Lord’s favourite, as he referred to himself as “the apostle that Jesus loved.” But he never exploited this exalted position. Although he arrived at the tomb first (being younger and more fit), he did not enter right away, deferring to Peter, who arrived later. But unlike Peter, when he entered and saw the empty tomb, he immediately believed that the Lord had risen. St. John was also the bravest apostle. During the most critical period of Jesus’ life, he stood by the Blessed Mother at the foot of the cross in Calvary, while all the other apostles had run away to hide. For his steadfast love, Jesus gave him the choicest assignment: “Behold your mother” (Jn.19:27). Among the apostles, he also lived the longest. Having been spared of a martyr’s death, he died of natural causes in the island of Patmos, where he was exiled by Emperor Dometian for his faith.

Together with St. Peter and St. James, St. John belonged to the “inner circle” of Jesus’ company, where he witnessed the great catch of fish, the Transfiguration, all the healing miracles performed by Jesus, and His passion in the garden of Gethsemane. Let us make St. John, who was the “apostle of love”, as the model of our life, so that we too can join the “inner circle” of Jesus’ followers. Let us read His gospel constantly, so that with the Holy Spirit’s guidance we may fully understand the power of God’s love that inspired the life and writings of St. John.

Blessed St. John, we honor you today. Pray for us that, like you, we may endear ourselves to Jesus, by striving to be humble and obedient, by being brave and bold to stand by our faith in Jesus, and by honoring Mary, His Blessed Mother. Amen.

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