Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist
1 John 1:1-4; Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12;John 20:1-8
He ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first. (John 20:4)
No matter now many remarkable accomplishments can be attributed to St. John—and there are many—he is probably best known and loved for his passion. Don’t you find that remarkable? John was one of the pioneers of primitive Christianity. He founded and led churches throughout Asia Minor. He was even one of the earliest and most detailed witnesses to the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth. And yet we remember him most for his passionate love of the Lord. We catch a glimpse of that passion in today’s Gospel as we read about how he outran Peter to see the empty tomb. He couldn’t contain himself. He so wanted to believe that Jesus really had risen!
John’s passion for Jesus stretched back to his initial encounter with the Lord. On the banks of the Sea of Galilee, he left the security of father, home, and livelihood at Jesus’ invitation—and he never looked back. We also see his passion when he suggested calling down fire from heaven against some people who refused to welcome Jesus into their town. It shows up again when we learn that Jesus had nicknamed him and his brother, James, the “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17).
Such a portrait of John tells us how intently he listened to Jesus’ preaching and teaching, how closely he watched Jesus heal and deliver people, and how open he was whenever Jesus spoke to him. No wonder we celebrate his feast day during the Christmas season—a season so focused on Jesus’ own passionate love for us!
John’s passion can be ours, too. As we cooperate with the ever-present grace of God, we can come to know him more and more clearly. We can taste his own passion for us, and that passion will enkindle a fire in our hearts. Even the smallest step of obedience, surrender, or cooperation with God can spark the flame. God doesn’t need much from us, just an open heart and a flexible will. So seek Jesus today. May we all become beloved disciples just like John!
“Lord, grant me the grace to love you with everything that I am. Thank you for being so single-minded in your devotion to me. By your Spirit, may I be just as single-minded for you.”~WAU