Read 1 John 1:1-4, Ps. 97:1-2,5-6,11-12, John 20:2-8

“So, she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’” (John 20:2)

Today, we are celebrating St. John the Apostle. John was the closest Apostle to Jesus. The life of St. John the Apostle speaks a compelling truth: Jesus Christ took our human flesh; He grew up like us, had close friends, and human feelings.

Was it necessary for Jesus to have had a best friend? Being completely human, Jesus needed to streamline his circle of friends to twelve apostles and within that circle, there were three special ones; among these three, John was nicknamed “The beloved.” While Jesus taught us to love our neighbours as ourselves, he did not say it was a sin to have very close friends. No one is an island; we cannot do without close friends.

Today’s celebration calls us to reflect deeply on those we take as friends. One way to know who your friends are is to examine those with whom you freely share your secrets. At the Last Supper, John was reclining close to Jesus, and Peter asked John to find out who would betray him. Peter knew Jesus would not hide this information from John. Peter was right. Jesus confided in John. The person who betrayed him is the one he gave the bread dipped in wine. (John 13:23-26).

While other apostles fled during the Passion of Jesus, John was there with Mary at the foot of the cross. John’s presence shows that he was a true friend of Jesus. He was there when Jesus was “nothing” – he was there when Jesus was stripped, disfigured and hanged on the cross. Only when the chips are down do you get to know your friends. No wonder it was to John that Jesus handed his mother.

Based on how close Jesus was to John, some of Jesus’ disciples assumed that John would 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, ‘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 remains until I come, what is that to you?’”

When John wrote his letter (read in today’s first reading), John proved that Jesus was not a figment of imagination. He said: “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 could preach about Jesus because He knew Jesus. Do you know Jesus? Could this be why you find it difficult to tell people about Jesus? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

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’s birth; we must have personal relationships with Jesus. You, too, can become Jesus’ best friend today.
Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, make me open my heart to you just like John did. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint John, Apostle, Evangelist – Feast. Bible Study: 1 John 1:1-4, Ps. 97:1-2,5-6,11-12, John 20:2-8)

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu