Today the Church celebrates the witness of St. John the Evangelist.
St. John is one of the 12 chosen by the Lord Jesus as an Apostle and is remembered as the author of one of the Church’s Gospels as well as 3 epistles. The last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, is also attributed to St. John.
The great legacy of his Apostolic teaching is most certainly his Gospel, so beautiful and majestic, it’s poetry and prose seems to soar like an eagle to the heights of heaven.
The Gospel of John is filled with dramatic events and lengthy discourses. It is mystical testimony to the greatest of Christ’s revelations- that he is God, who in the fullness of time, and in accord with a plan of his own making, became man, and in becoming man, gave himself up as a sacrifice which would reconcile a humanity, indeed all of creation, that had become estranged from God because of sin, death and the devil.
The Gospel of John stands athwart our many attempts to domesticate the Lord Jesus or reduce him to one of any number of religious teachers or philosophers. Instead, the Lord Jesus is someone that is always a sign of contradiction to the categories we would wield against him in order to make him easy and safe. Jesus is God, the divine person in whom the fullness of divinity dwells in communion with the fullness of our humanity. He is like us inasmuch as he is human. He is an absolute mystery to us inasmuch as he is God.
God in the flesh in Christ is the meaning and purpose of our celebrations in the great days of the Christmas Season, and it is this extraordinary revelation that, as St. John the Evangelist testifies, “makes our joy complete”.
The joy that the Christian proclaims in song and story is not just a feeling of good cheer, but testimony that God has in Christ become one like us, and in doing so, has made all things new!