Tuesday, December 27, 2005
St. John the Apostle and Evangelist

"When Jesus, therefore, had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own." (John 19:26-27, Douay Rheims)

Feast (1969 Calendar): December 27
Double of the II Class (1955 Calendar): December 27

Besides the 3rd Day in the Octave of Christmas, today is also the Feast Day of St. John. Today in times past was also a Holy Day of Obligation.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Our Lord was taken from us and sentenced to death, all his disciples left him - every last one except one. St. John the Apostle was the only one to return to the Cross. It was there that He saw the love of the Lord - for Jesus Christ willingly gave up His life for us. St. John was given the gift of Mary, Our Lord's Mother, and Mary was given to us then. That day we were redeemed and Mary became Our Mother as well. It was St. John who was there. It was also St. John who wrote the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John. 

St. Jerome (ca. 347 to ca 420) wrote about St. John in his Lives of Illustrious Men. His short biography portrays a man dedicated to bringing the word of God to others despite many obstacles:
"John, the apostle whom Jesus most loved, the son of Zebedee and brother of James…wrote a Gospel, at the request of the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics and especially against the then growing dogma of the Ebionites, who assert that Christ did not exist before Mary. On this account, he was compelled to maintain His divine nativity. But there is said to be yet another reason for this work, in that when he had read Matthew, Mark, and Luke, he approved indeed the substance of the history and declared that the things they said were true, but that they had given the history of only one year, the one, that is, which follows the imprisonment of John and in which he was put to death. So passing by this year the events of which had been set forth by these, he related the events of the earlier period before John was shut up in prison so that it might be manifest to those who should diligently read the volumes of the four Evangelists….

"In the fourteenth year then after Nero, Domitian having raised a second persecution he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenaeus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the time of the emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion and was buried near the same city" (Wace and Schaff, eds. 1892. pg. 364-365)

St. John is truly the Apostle of Charity: "The Blessed Evangelist John lived at Ephesus down to an extreme old age, and, at length, when he was with difficulty carried to the Church and was not able to exhort the congregation at length, he was used simply to say at each meeting, My little children, love one another. At last, the disciples and brethren were weary with hearing these words continually, and asked him, Master, wherefore ever sayest thou this only? Whereto he replied to them, It is the commandment of the Lord, and if this only be done, it is enough" (Divinum Officium Website. 1960 rubrics, Matins, December 27. Reading 6)

Blessing of Wine

Some people even have traditions on this Feast day of Blessing Wine. For information on this and the prayers, visit the link. Keep this tradition alive.

Octave of St. John

Traditionally, before the 1962 changes, there was an Octave associated with the Feast of St. John.  January 3rd was the Octave Day of St. John.  Those attached to this older calendar may still pray the Breviary on January 3rd using the prayers for the Octave Day of St. John


Of Thy goodness, O Lord, shine upon Thy Church, that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, Thine Apostle and Evangelist, she may attain to everlasting gifts. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

2 comment(s):

del_button December 27, 2005 at 10:31 AM
Anonymous said...

"And the Word became flesh!" Merry Christmas!

del_button December 27, 2005 at 11:47 AM
Matthew said...

Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting, Hector.

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