27 Dec – Feast of St John – Apostle, Evangelist
Son of Zebedee and Salome. Fisherman. Brother of Saint James the Greater, and called one of the Sons of Thunder. Disciple of Saint John the Baptist. Friend of Saint Peter the Apostle. Called by Jesus during the first year of His ministry, and traveled everywhere with Him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. Took part in the Last Supper. The only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Saviour in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. Made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus, and he took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.
During the era of the new Church, he worked in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. During Jesus’ ministry, he tried to block a Samaritan from their group, but Jesus explained the open nature of the new Way, and he worked on that principle to found churches in Asia Minor and baptizing converts in Samaria. Imprisoned with Peter for preaching after Pentecost. Wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and possibly the Book of Revelation. Survived all his fellow apostles.
– The Patron Saint Index
1 John 1:1-4
Something which has existed since the beginning,
that we have heard,
and we have seen with our own eyes;
that we have watched
and touched with our hands:
the Word, who is life –
this is our subject.
That life was made visible:
we saw it and we are giving our testimony,
telling you of the eternal life
which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.
What we have seen and heard
we are telling you
so that you too may be in union with us,
as we are in union
with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.
On the first day of the week Mary of Magdala came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’
So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.
He saw and he believed
Out of all these friends you have, is there one whom you know so well and whom knows you so well that when you’re together and you talk, you can pretty much finish each other’s sentences? Is there one out there with whom you can look at something, then at each other, and then laugh together without even saying a word? That’s what a best friend is.
John was Jesus’ best friend. He was the disciple that Jesus loved, and he was present with Jesus at all the major milestones of Jesus’ public life. He was there at his baptism, at his transfiguration, and at the cross. He was the closest friend to Jesus and when Jesus died and rose from the dead, he was there at the tomb. He was the first disciple to believe in the resurrection, because when he saw the linen cloths devoid of Jesus’ body, he knew what it meant.
John who wrote the fourth gospel was a man who understood symbols and the importance of it. His entire gospel is rich with symbolism, so rich that even today people are still writing books about that gospel and its meaning. That’s the thing about symbols – they carry so much meaning that no one interpretation can capture it fully. Indeed that’s what Jesus’ entire life is about, and why the Catholic Mass itself is so rich in symbolism. There is no one book that can fully capture the entire meaning of Jesus’ life.
Take a moment and think of your own friendship with your best friend. Think of all the memories you’ve had together. Can you list out all the things about this friend that makes you treasure this friendship? What about the things you have brought to the friendship? Once you have listed them all out, I challenge you to search the four gospels and you will find that for every item on your list, you will see that Jesus has taught it, showed it, or received it from someone else. That is the kind of friendship that Jesus wants to have with you.
Now the only question is: Is Jesus good enough to be your best friend for life?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Daniel Tay)
Prayer: We pray for those who feel that they have no friends, that they may come to realise that their best friend is waiting for them to respond to his never-ending request to draw closer to Him.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to the Lord for best friends.