December 27: St. John the Apostle
St. John was a fisherman in Galilee. He was called to be an apostle with his brother, St. James. Jesus gave these sons of Zebedee the nickname, "sons of thunder." St. John was the youngest apostle. He was dearly loved by the Lord. At the Last Supper, it was John who was permitted to lean his head on the chest of Jesus. John was also the only apostle who stood at the foot of the cross. The dying Jesus gave the care of his Blessed Mother Mary to this beloved apostle. Turning to Mary, he said, "Behold your mother." So the rest of her life on earth, the Blessed Mother lived with St. John. He alone had the great privilege of honoring and assisting the all-pure Mother of God.
On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene and the other women went with spices to Jesus' tomb to anoint his body. They came running back to the apostles with exciting news. The body of Jesus was gone from the tomb. Peter and John set out to investigate. John arrived first but waited for Peter to go in ahead of him. Then he went in and saw the neatly folded linen cloths. Later that same week, the disciples were fishing on the lake of Tiberias without success. A man standing on the beach suggested they let down their nets on the other side of the boat. When they pulled it up again it was full of large fish. Now John, who knew who this man was, called to Peter, "It is the Lord." With the descent of the Holy Spirit the apostles were filled with new courage. After the Ascension, Peter and John cured a crippled man by calling on the name of Jesus.
John lived nearly a century. He himself was not martyred, but he did lead a life of suffering. He preached the Gospel, and became bishop of Ephesus. In the last years of his life, when he could no longer preach, his disciples would carry him to the crowds of Christians. His simple message was, "My dear children, love one another." St. John died in Ephesus around the year 100.
"The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share in the same faith." -St. Augustine