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27th December, St. John, Evangelist

1 John 1:1-4 / John 20:2-8


According to tradition, St. John was subjected to torture by being plunged into a pot of boiling oil but he miraculously survived, whereas the other apostles were martyred.
It is also believed that he lived to a ripe old age of about 94 and he died of natural causes.

There could be some truth in that because the gospel that is attributed to him contains a spiritual depth that is more profound and also more mysterious than in the other three gospels.

In biblical art, the Gospel of John is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the insight to the height of the mystery of the person of Jesus which was expounded in the first chapter of the gospel.

It had that depth of insight to the height of the mystery probably from the reflection and meditation over the years.

There was a story that when St. John was an old man, he was asked to preach to a gathering of believers.

His message was short yet sublime: Dear children, love one another. Learn to love one another as God loves you.

That is also the central theme in the gospel of John - the love that God has for us, and it can be found in passages like  John 3:16-17; 13:34-35; 15:17.

Yesterday at the feast of St. Stephen, we were confronted with the hostility of humanity in the martyrdom of St. Stephen.

But today in the feast of St. John, we are lifted to the tenderness of divinity from which is poured out love and forgiveness

It is a profound theme, and to love one another and forgive one another as Jesus has loved us and forgiven us is a spirituality and a mystery that needed to be constantly reflected and meditated upon in our hearts.

Like St. John may God also deepen and enlighten us in His love for us so that we will in turn love one another as Jesus has loved us. (SY)