Wednesday, December 27, 2023

St. John the Evangelist. . .

Merciful Lord, cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed in the doctrine of Your blessed apostle and evangelist John, may come to the light of everlasting life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

St. John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee and Salome, was one of the Twelve Apostles. John was called by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry. He is also known as John the Evangelist, John of Patmos and the Beloved Disciple. John's older brother was St. James the Great, another one of the Twelve. Jesus called the brothers "Boanerges," meaning "sons of thunder." John is believed to be the longest living apostle and the only not to die a martyr's death.  John, with Peter and James, were the only witnesses of the raising of Daughter of Jairus, and the closest witnesses to the Agony in Gethsemane. John was the one who reported to Jesus they had "'forbidden' a non-disciple from casting out demons in Jesus' name." This prompted Jesus to state, "he who is not against us is on our side."  John and Peter were the two apostles sent by Jesus to make preparations for the final Passover meal, the Last Supper. During the meal, St. John sat next to Jesus, leaning on him rather than lying along the couches as was the custom of the day.  John was the only one of the Twelve Apostles who did not forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion. He stood faithfully at the cross when the Savior made him the guardian of His Mother.

The writings of if Blessed John are highly significant.  Believed by many to have been the last gospel written, John focused upon the divinity of Jesus -- right from the first chapter of the Gospel that bears His name: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1.1)

The Gospel of John contains the “I am” sayings of Jesus. These sayings teach us a a great deal about Jesus. They are:

  • I am the bread of life (6.35)
  • I am the light of the world (8.12)
  • I am the gate for the sheep (10.7)
  • I am the good shepherd (10.11)
  • I am the way, and the truth, and the life (14.6)
  • I am the vine, you are the branches (15.5)

From the cross, Jesus commended Blessed Mary to John:

“Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple. “Here is your mother.“ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19.26)

John was later exiled to the Island of Patmos; from there he wrote Revelation;  Later he returned to Ephesus.  In his old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia. St. Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: "My dear children, love one another."  From Eusebius we have this timeline:  St. John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan; that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ.  St. John was then about ninety-four years old, according to St. Epiphanus.


1 comment:

gamarquart said...

St. John is also the only one who tells the story of the Resurrection of Lazarus. The part about our Lord weeping, has, in my opinion, been misunderstood for many years. However, after doing some searching, I have found out that there are others who also believed that our Lord wept, because He had to bring His friend back from heavenly bliss to this vale of tears. It also appears that Lazarus' memory was wiped clean of his stay in Paradise.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart