Feast of St. John Apostle and Evangelist ( Dec 27)- by Fr. Michael Udoekpo
Readings: 1 John 1:1-4; Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12; John 20:1a and 2-3
The Call to Share the Life and Love of Christ
I don’t think it is by accident that the Church places the feast of St. John the Apostles and Evangelist today, soon after Christmas and Feast of the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Perhaps because he worked very closely with Jesus and Mary and even came to be known as his ‘beloved disciple.” He was originally from Bethsaida, a Galilean Town on the north of the Sea of Tiberias. His parents were Zebedee and Salome, wealthy professional fisherman. His brother was James. This remind me of my good friend who gave birth to twin- boys and name them “John and James.”
John is an example of a true disciple who left everything to follow Jesus to bear witness to the Light of the World. He made such a spiritual impact as reflected in the Gospel of John and many other epistle in our Christian Scriptures, including the first reading of today , 1 John 1:1-4.
It was not enough that Christ was born at Christmas, in manger in Bethlehem, and was visited by the Shepherd and the Gentile Magi who brought him gifts (Matt 2:1-12), Herod sought to kill him. His ministry was seen as a threat to the opposing the status quo, old ways that the Pharisees would do things. Many false ideas were spread about the person and ministry of Jesus, completely opposite of John’s experience of Jesus. Many, the antichrist refused to acknowledge that Jesus was Christ,(1 Jn 2:18-23). They denied Christ was truly human and truly divine.
When John says, “beloved, what was from the beginning, what we have seen and heard, we proclaim now to you so that you too may have fellowship with us, for our fellowship is with the Father and with his son , the Christ,” he confirming the authenticity of Christ who came from the Father to be with us. And true fellowship with God through Christ must be based on the practice and spreading of true Christian ethics charity and love for one another (1 John 3ff).
When Mary Magdalene in today’s Gospel experienced the empty tomb, he ran back to the disciples of Jesus, especially to John whom Christ loved and shared the story. In responding along with Peter, John out ran him and arrived first at the tomb. When they all experienced the empty tomb John particularly believed- and went out to share the truth with others. We are call to be like John, who witness the goodness and the love of Christ, believed, and then shared the faith with others.
Like John we want to believe that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we want to go out and share them with the rest o the world (Jn 1:14). Like John we want to believe that unless you are born of water and the Holy Spirit you cannot enter the kingdom of God- and we want to share this with the rest of the world (Jn 3:5). And like John we want to believe and share with others that God is love, Jesus is the Good shepherd ( Jn 10), he is the resurrection and the life ( Jn 11), he is the Vine and we are the branches (jn 15),
Our senses, of seeing, hearing, speaking, proclaiming and even the energy to run like the disciples, to drive or walk around can lead us to Christ. They can also lead us to faithlessness depending on our dispositions.
Let me share this prayer with you. It was Christmas 2010 presence to me from an Eighty five years- old SSND Nun whom I had worked with many years ago in my home diocese in Eastern Nigeria.
Dear God, I ask you to bless me and to watch over me this day
May my feet walk, where my presence will be a glimpse of you
May my hands touch someone in pain
May my eyes always see the good in everyone they meet
May my ears listen only to praise, and not to words that tear down
May my mouth always speak the truth
May my mind not judge others because they different
May I just be myself and a reflection of you
May my heart be restless until it rest in you
I ask this in the name of your Son and your Spirit for today, tomorrow, and all my days.
Peace be with you