Reading I 1 Jn 1:1-4
Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life — for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us— 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, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.
Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands for the life was made visible;
Today the Catholic Church celebrates St. John the Evangelist, "the beloved disciple." Why does the church celebrate St. John's Feast Day so near Christmas?
Only two of the evangelists, Matthew and Luke, tell the story of Jesus' birth. St. Mark begins his Gospel with the baptism of Jesus. St. John begins his with, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word."(John 1:1) So why does the Church place St. John's Feast Day on the second day after the birth of the Christ Child?
John was one of the first disciples of Jesus. James, John, and Peter were close to Jesus and were included in personal experiences that revealed who Jesus was, the Son of God. They were witnesses to the transfiguration of Jesus. John says, "And the Word became flesh, and he lived among us, and we saw his glory, glory like that of an only-begotten son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
The Church chooses to place the Feast of St. John on December 27th because he testifies to the glory of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the St. Andrew Daily Missal, this comment is made about St. John, "It is God whom we adore at Bethlehem during Christmas time. Thus it was natural that St. John, the chief evangelist of the divinity of Christ, should be found beside the crib, to disclose the greatness of the infant who reposes therein."
Dom Prosper Gueranger author of the Liturgical Year further explains that St. John's sacrifice of virginity like St. Stephen's sacrifice of blood (martyrdom celebrated on December 26th ) deserves to be "nearest to Jesus' Crib." Why?
Gueranger continues to tell us this, "next to the sacrifice of Blood the noblest, the bravest, and which most wins the heart of Him who is the Spouse of Souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity." St. John's chastity and his testimony earn him this placement in the Liturgical Year.
PAPA, Priest Always Prayer Apostolate, prays for all priests to be chaste. Each month we pray for priests to have certain virtues. In the month of June, we pray for all priests to have the virtue of chastity, and in the month of December, we pray for them to have perseverance. Let us continue to pray for all priests and religious to be virtuous.
Let us pray the PAPA Prayer for Priests.