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. 1 John 1:1–4
This, the third day of the Octave of Christmas, is dedicated to St. John. St. John is particularly important to honor during Christmas because of the fact that so much of what we know about our Divine Lord comes from him. Not only did he write one of the four Gospels, he also wrote various letters that are preserved. The letter above was from the first reading of the Mass for today.
In this letter, John echoes what he wrote in the first chapter of his Gospel when he spoke of the Eternal Word, existing from the beginning, taking on flesh. Here, he echoes that “What was from the beginning…was made visible to us.” Namely, the Eternal Son of the Father took on flesh for us to see. John was a witness to this.
As we honor St. John, it’s good to try to look at Christmas from his perspective. He would have been able to ponder the great mystery of the Incarnation of God throughout his life. He would have pondered the reality that this man whom he came to know personally and intimately existed from before time and was a member of the Most Holy Trinity. For John, the Incarnation would have been particularly real and overwhelming in a personal and transforming way.
Try to look at Jesus from the perspective of John. But look, especially, at the Incarnation from John’s perspective after Jesus had ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit. For decades afterwards, John dedicated his life to the spreading of the Good News. He dedicated his life to pondering the great mystery, by allowing himself to see more clearly that the human being with whom he walked and talked was both God and man. He would have never fully exhausted this great mystery and would have continually been in awe of what he experienced.
Furthermore, John would have been blessed to continue “touching” the presence of the God-Man every time he celebrated the Holy Eucharist. Little by little he would have understood that Jesus was fully present to him through this gift.
Reflect, today, upon this great Apostle. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving for his deeply insightful writings, and try to enter into his mind and heart as he prayerfully reflected upon Jesus throughout his life. He is a gift to the Church for which we enter into gratitude today.
Lord, You are glorious and beyond my understanding. Your divine presence in this world is truly mysterious and awe-inspiring. Thank You for coming among us and thank You for revealing Yourself to us through the writings of St. John the Apostle. May I come to know You more deeply through all that he has written and may I always imitate his example of a beloved disciple. St. John, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.
Saint of the Day – Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist