On this Third Day of Christmas we reflect on the life of St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist who authored the Gospel of John, the Book of Revelation, and three short letters, John 1, 2, and 3, in the New Testament. The Apostle James was John’s older brother, and the two together were known as the Sons of Thunder. In the Gospel of John, he is referred to as the “Beloved Disciple” or the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”
John was with Jesus from the very first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana, where Mary interceded on behalf of the wedding party, and Jesus turned water into wine. John was also part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, along with Peter and James. These three accompanied Jesus for the miracle of the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration of Jesus, and the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed the night before his crucifixion. St. John was the only Apostle of Jesus who was not martyred, yet he was also the only Apostle who did not abandon Jesus during his Passion. John remained at the foot of the Cross with Jesus’ mother Mary. In fact, John, representing all of us followers, received Mary as his own mother at the request of the dying Jesus: “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (NAB, JN 19:26-27)
Finally, on Resurrection Day, when the women had discovered that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, Mary Magdalene ran to Peter and John, telling them what she had seen. Peter and John ran to the tomb, with John running faster and arriving first. The Gospel says, “When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there…. [John] also went in…. He saw and believed.” (20:6-8)
Lord Jesus, give me the love and faith of your Beloved Disciple. May I stand with you through the miracles and the sufferings in my life, and may I too accept the gift of your Mother from the Cross. Give me the eagerness and energy to love as your Disciple, St. John, loved you and others, so that my life may also give you glory in this life, until you one day welcome me into your Heavenly Kingdom. Amen.