Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the great feast of one of the Lord’s Twelve Apostles, who happens to be one of the Four great Evangelists as well. St. John the Apostle and Evangelist was one of the two sons of Zebedee together with St. James the Apostle, his elder brother. With St. Peter and St. Andrew, all of them were fishermen in the lake of Galilee. They were all called by the Lord to follow Him, and they left their old profession and their families, committing themselves to the Lord and served Him from then on.
St. John became one of the Lord’s closest disciples, as one of the Twelve Apostles, and also together with St. Peter and St. James, his brother, he was often brought to the most important events in the Lord’s ministry, such as the resurrection of the synagogue official’s dead daughter, the Transfiguration of the Lord at Mount Tabor, and also the moments of Our Lord’s Agony at the Gardens of Gethsemane just before the time of His Passion. He therefore witnessed many of the important events surrounding the Lord’s ministry and works, and was a witness of His miracles and His truth.
St. John the Apostle was one of those who remained by the Lord’s side and kept following Him even up to the moments of His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross. He accompanied Mary, the Lord’s own mother as she came to the foot of the Cross, seeing her own Son being crucified and died before her. It was to St. John that the Lord entrusted His mother, and similarly, He entrusted St. John to Mary as well. St. John therefore was really important in his role in the early Church, as one of the Apostles and close collaborators of the Lord.
And not only that, he also spent many decades in spreading the truth of God all over the known world, travelling from places to places with the other Apostles and disciples, assisting in the foundation of the Church in various places. St. John also wrote several Epistles and letters in addition to his well-known work on one of the four canonical or officially endorsed Gospels. He was also the one who received the vision of the end of times in the Island of Patmos where he was exiled to by the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. He recorded all that he had seen in what we now know as the Book of Revelations.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we reflect on the life and the ministry of St. John, Holy Apostle and Evangelist, let us all first reflect on what he wrote in his own Epistle, which is in our first reading today. St. John wrote of the Word of Life that has come into this world, and how he and the many other Apostles and disciples had shared and given whatever they had experienced and received from the Lord. He showed us that this same Jesus Christ that we are celebrating this Christmas is the One Who is the Saviour of the world, and the One Who has brought Life upon us.
St. John gave his whole life and did everything he could to glorify the Lord by his life and actions. He encouraged many of the faithful back then who were going through many persecutions, and through his accounts in the Book of Revelations, he encouraged the faithful not to give up on their faith in God as no matter what, in the end, God will come and claim His faithful ones, and those who remain faithful to Him will indeed receive the promise of eternal life, true happiness and everlasting joy with Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today let us all realise that just as St. John had been called to follow the Lord and be His disciple, all of us have also received the same calling as Christians to follow the Lord and to devote ourselves to Him. This is what we have to remind ourselves well as we continue to celebrate the joy and hope of Christmas in this ongoing Christmas season. We have to remember that we are the witnesses of His truth and love, of the Love of God incarnate in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
Are we able and willing to follow in the footsteps and examples set by St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, brothers and sisters? Are we willing to live our lives wholeheartedly in accordance to our Christian faith, and especially now in our Christmas celebrations by putting Christ at the centre and heart of all of our rejoicing? It is through our genuine faith and sincere commitment to the path that God has shown us that we can inspire so many others to come to believe in the Lord as well.
May the Lord, born in Bethlehem and celebrated by us in this Christmas season, continue to help and guide us in our journey of faith. May St. John, His Holy Apostle and one of the Four great Evangelists continue to inspire us by his examples and intercede for all of us, that God may strengthen our faith and that we will grow ever closer to Him, now and always, forevermore. Amen.