HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST
HOMILY THEME: St. John: The One whom Jesus Loved.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
HOMILY: “Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.” (John 20:1-2)
Yesterday, we celebrated the heavenly birthday of a man whose very life teaches us what it means to love as Jesus loved. Today, we are celebrating St. John the Apostle, the beloved of Jesus. John was the closest Apostle to Jesus, so close that it was to him that Jesus handed over his Mother while he was dying on the Cross.
Dear friends, the life of St. John the Apostle speaks a compelling truth: that Jesus Christ actually took our human flesh; that He was really born like one of us; that He had close friends; that He loved real people and had human feelings.
Was it necessary for Jesus to have had a best friend? Wasn’t he supposed to love everybody equally? Our human experience already shows us that no matter how we try to love people, there would always be a special one. John was that special one.
Everyone knew how close John was to Jesus. As our Gospel passage today tells us, it was John Peter asked about who was to betray Jesus. Jesus confided in John saying it was the one to whom He was to give the bread he was about to dip in wine. (John 13:23-26).
Based on how close Jesus was to John, some of Jesus’ disciples assumed that John will live forever. In John 21:21-23, we read: “When Peter saw him (John), he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’”
John had a close and personal relationship with Jesus. When he wrote his letter as contained in today’s first reading, John aimed to prove that Jesus was not simply a figment of imagination but “that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands…”
John ran faster than Peter to the tomb not because he was younger, but out of a feeling of love and devotion to a dear friend. He got there first but waited for Peter (as a mark of respect) before going in. John gave an eye-witness account of the resurrection and concluded by declaring his faith: “he saw and believed.”
Now, where does all these lead to? As part of our Christmas celebrations, the story of John the beloved draws us to open our hearts to love Jesus as a friend and brother. It is not enough that we eat rice and chicken to celebrate Jesus’ birth, we must also enter into personal relationship with Jesus just as John did.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, make me open my heart to you just like John did. Amen.
Merry Christmas to You. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Feast of St. John the Apostle 27th December 2018. Bible Study: 1st John 1:1-4, Psalm 97 and John 20:2-8).