Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist

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


The John is rightly celebrated soon after Christmas Day. The opening lines of his gospel sum up in a few words what we are celebrating at Christmas, ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’

In a striking parallel to the prologue of the Gospel of John, today’s first reading presents the mystery of Jesus, the Word of Life.  The focus of this prologue, however, is not so much on this Word, but on the witness, the testimony, of those who saw, heard, and touched Jesus: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you.”

The triad, seeing, hearing, and proclaiming, serves as a concise summary of the apostolic life and calling, the life that has borne witness to Jesus, not only in that first generation of witnesses but down to our own day.

When we consider what has impacted us most in our faith journey, certainly, what we have seen and heard from other people remains a powerful influence.  It may have been a teacher, priest, or religious.  Perhaps it was the example of parents, spouse, close friends, neighbours or even a stranger. It may be that reading about the life of a saint sets us on fire.

An attractive joy manifested to others, a life deeply committed to practical acts of charity, and an extraordinary resilience in the face of trial and suffering are eloquent testimonies.  They provoke questions in the hearts of those who see and hear: “Why are you so happy?  What moved you to do that?  How have you been able to survive so much difficulty?”  Responding to questions like that can deepen the witness.

The Feast Day today and the accompanying scripture remind us that we, too, are among those who have seen and heard.  Now it is our time to proclaim, in small ways, or large ways, by our joy, our charity, our life of faith, the One we have seen and heard.

Giltus Mathias CP is a Passionist Priest that lives at St.Brigid’s Marrickville Community.