St. John the Apostle

Friends in the Lord, today is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist.
Each Evangelist has a symbol, often seen in stained-glass windows or sometimes on chalices. If you go down to the chapel downstairs, on the old altar there, you will see 4 paintings of the Evangelists and their symbols. The symbol of John is the Eagle. Well the Eagle soars high above the earth, and it is St. John’s gospel that soars high up – it is the gospel that emphasizes the Divinity of Christ.
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St. John was very young, a virgin, and the beloved of Christ. He is usually pictured with no beard, to show his youth and innocence. He also wrote the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd letters of John, and tradition believes he wrote the Book of Revelation as well.
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It is worthwhile to consider the change that happened in John by his having met Christ. He was a fisherman; a fisherman back in the first century, surely he had no real education. A man with rough hands, working with his father Zebedee in an old boat on the Sea of Galilee. He meets Christ the Lord, and spends what – 3 years with him. Yet, at the end of his life he writes the most beautiful lines of scripture, writings that one would expect from a master poet and theologian or mystic.
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Like all of us, John had no real life until he met Christ. But in the Lord he met a man who showed him the meaning of his life. He met his Creator. He met Love Himself, born into the world.
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On Mt. Tabor, John was permitted a vision of the Lord’s Divinity. At the Last Supper, it was he who leaned his head on the breast of Christ, who had the deepest friendship with Jesus. It was John, to whom was entrusted the Blessed Mother’s care. We should take note, that John writes the Gospel not using his own name, but referring all the time to ‘the Beloved Disciple, the One Jesus loved. He is saying: this is each of us: you are the Beloved Disciple. Each Christian, when he receives the Lord at the Holy Supper, leans his head on the breast of Christ, to speak to him.
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You know, the emperor Domitian plunged John into a caldron of boiling oil to murder him, but he was unharmed. So he was exiled to the Island of Patmos. Patmos – where on a clear day, he could look across the bay and see the hill, on top of which was the house of Mary his mother. She was there. Praying for him, praying for the beloved disciple, and also for each of us – beloved disciples.

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