Wednesday, 27 December 2017 : Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of the holy Apostle St. John, the brother of St. James the Apostle, and who happens to be also one of the four writers of the Book of the Gospels, and thus he is also known as St. John the Evangelist. He was the disciple whom the Lord Jesus loved and was always at His side, because of his great faith and devotion.

St. John was the only one among the Twelve Apostles who did not die from martyrdom, but died a peaceful death last among all of them, around a century after the birth of Our Lord Jesus, many decades after the events surrounding His crucifixion, death and resurrection. St. John died after having received the vision of the end of time, which he wrote in the Book of the Apocalypse or the Revelations according to St. John, the last book in our Bible.

He was the one to whom the Lord entrusted His mother Mary, and she lived with him from the moment when Jesus entrusted her to him from the cross. At the same time, He also entrusted him to her, to be her adopted son. St. John was also featured prominently in the other parts of the Gospels, as the one who was often present during important events in the life of Jesus, with St. Peter the Apostle, the leader of the Twelve, and with St. James, the brother of St. John.

Why was that St. John featured so prominently throughout the Gospels? That is because, while St. John was the youngest among all the Twelve Apostles, yet, despite of his youth, he was very faithful and devoted to the Lord. He was always listening to the Lord and was loyal to Him, even to the very end, when He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. In the Gospel of St. John, he stayed behind and fled only when he was chased by the Temple guards.

And as mentioned in the Gospel passage today, St. John was among the first to witness the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, along with St. Peter the Apostle, and of course the women who went to the tomb earlier on that Easter Sunday. And he believed in all that he saw, the stone that was rolled off the tomb entrance, the missing Body of the Lord Jesus, and His promise that He would rise from the dead.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. John the Apostle and Evangelist showed all of us the way to follow the Lord, through faith, dedication and obedience. He had a pure faith and a committed heart, dedicated to serve and worship the Lord, and until the end of his earthly life, enduring one persecution after another, and one exile after another, including the one to the island of Patmos where he received the visions of the end times, St. John continued to be faithful, and helped many of the early Christians to continue persevering in the faith.

Let us all imitate his examples, and as Christians let us all have that strong and genuine faith in the Lord. Are we able to dedicate ourselves, our whole lives, and commit them to the Lord? This is what we need to do, if we are to become true disciples of the Lord, like that of St. John, and through our faith, just like his, we will inspire many others to do the same, and more people will be saved by our good works of faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, as we continue to rejoice in this wonderful and blessed Christmas season, let us all remember always of the reason of our joy, that is Christ, and with Christ as the focus and the centre of our lives, let us all always strive to live in accordance with His ways, and walk always in His grace. May the Lord bless all of us, and be with us always, all the days of our life. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, pray for all of us sinners, that the Lord may eventually bring us to His eternal glory. Amen.

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