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FEAST OF SAINT JOHN, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST, DECEMBER 27, 2023


Gospel

Jn 20:1a and 2-8

On the first day of the week,

Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter

and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,

"They have taken the Lord from the tomb,

and we do not know where they put him."

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.

They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter

and arrived at the tomb first;

he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

When Simon Peter arrived after him,

he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,

and the cloth that had covered his head,

not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

Then the other disciple also went in,

the one who had arrived at the tomb first,

and he saw and believed.


REFLECTION

"he saw and believed"


Just a few days ago we prayed our Advent wreath prayers.


The wreath consists of 3 purple candles and one pink candle. The center candle is white. The first purple candle is Hope, the second week we light another purple candle reminding us of Love, the third is pink as we are filled with Joy about the coming of the Lord and His good tidings or good news, and the fourth is Peace, that gift we all yearn for. And after much praying without ceasing, in thanksgiving and wanting to do God's will, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God made man.


On Christmas Day the white candle is lit and alone in the center of the wreath. It is the sign of the Resurrected God. In our Christmastide readings we meet St Stephen, the first martyr. Then we are reminded of the Resurrection. We first meet Mary Magdalene who has lost all hope and mourning the death of the Light of the World. It was the beloved disciple, St John, who filled with love for the Lord, arrives first but respectfully allows the head, St Peter, to enter first. The Word which was made flesh and lived among them, is now resurrected. We can now enter Eternal Life with Jesus.


John is the "disciple whom Jesus loved". He stayed with Jesus at the time of the crucifixion, took care of His Mother, authored the fourth Gospel, three epistles and the Book of Revelation. He is represented as the eagle for two reasons: first, because his Gospel describes the Incarnation of the divine Logos, and the eagle is a symbol of that which comes from above. (1) The second, because like the eagle, John, in his Revelation, saw beyond what is immediately present. (1)


John was exiled to the Greek island of Patmos as a result of anti-Christian persecution under the Roman emperor Domitian. John of Patmos is the name traditionally given to the author of the Book of Revelation. (1)


And as St John has shown us, may our beliefs be fortified-may Hope, Love, Joy and Peace be ours, as we look forward to our resurrection in Christ. Because of His gift of love mankind can now share in His Divinity.


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