FEAST OF ST. JOHN
Proverbs, Chapter 28, Verse 14
Happy those who always fear; but those who harden their hearts fall into evil.
Fear is a different verb than in the phrase “to fear (or revere) the Lord.” The verb means to dread an oppressor. The saying states a paradox: those who fear in the sense of being cautious are declared happy, whereas those who are fearless will fall into traps they did not “fear.” In short, there is good fear and bad fear. Speaking of fearless today is the Feast of St. John, the only apostle that did not abandon our Lord out of fear and witnessed his crucifixion.
Feast of St. John, the Apostle
JOHN, the brother of St. James the Greater, was a son of Zebedee, a fisherman of Galilee, and of Salome, a cousin of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Matt. iv. 21). He was the youngest of the apostles, and, with Peter and James, was the most trusted of the disciples of Jesus, by Whom he was most tenderly loved, on which account he is called the Disciple of Love. Of this Jesus gave the most convincing evidence when, at the Last Supper, He allowed that disciple to lean upon His breast, and when, from the cross, He committed to the care of John His own Mother. After the ascension John preached the Gospel in Palestine; afterwards went to Asia Minor, fixed his residence in Ephesus, and established many churches there. He was, with the other apostles, taken prisoner and scourged by the Jews, and in the year 95, under the Emperor Domitian, before the Latin Gate, at Rome, was thrown into a vessel of boiling oil. Having endured this torture without injury, he was then banished to the island of Patmos, where, by command of the Lord, he wrote the Apocalypse, or Revelation, concerning the fortunes of the Church. On returning from his banishment he again governed the churches of Asia Minor as chief pastor, as he had done before, and, at the age of nearly one hundred years, died at Ephesus a peaceful arid natural death.
The Introit of the Mass reads: “In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth, and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and clothed him with a robe of glory. It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High.”
Mercifully illustrate Thy Church, O Lord, that, enlightened by the doctrines of Thy blessed apostle and evangelist St. John, she may arrive at gifts everlasting.
EPISTLE. Ecclus. xv. 1-6.
He that feareth God will do good: and he that possesseth Justice shall lay hold on her, and she will meet him as an honorable mother, and will receive him as a wife married of a virgin. With the bread of life and understanding, she shall feed him and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved : and she shall hold him fast, and he shall not be confounded: and she shall exalt him among his neighbors, and in the midst of the Church she shall open his month, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory. She shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and our Lord God shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.
“He that loves wisdom,” saith the Holy Ghost, “will obtain it, for it will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins” (Wis. i. 4). St. John was from his childhood an angel of purity, on which account he was particularly be loved by Jesus, and endowed by the Holy Ghost with such wisdom and knowledge that, as St. Augustine has remarked, he begins his gospel in a manner more lofty and sublime than the other three evangelists. For while they walk with the God-man upon earth, speaking comparatively little of His divinity, St. John, as if despising the world, soars beyond the vault of heaven, above the hosts of angels, and comes to Him by Whom all things are made, saying, “In the beginning was the Word.” At the Last Supper he was permitted to lean on the bosom of Jesus, but what he there drank in secretly he imparted openly. Apply thyself, therefore, to purity of heart, and thou shalt be like St. John, a beloved disciple of Jesus, and shalt be filled with heavenly wisdom.
GOSPEL. John xxi. 19-24.
At that time: Jesus said to Peter: Follow Me. Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on His breast at supper, and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray Thee? Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to him: So, I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou Me. This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did riot say to him: He should not die; but, So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
Feast of St John
The Feast of St. John the Apostle commemorates his life. He was one of Jesus' 12 disciples. He was one of the three disciples, which included Peter and James, who were involved in some of the most important events in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, including Jesus' crucifixion and transfiguration.
St John Facts
· John was a fisherman before he began following Christ. He was the brother of St. James the Greater. Jesus gave the brothers the name, sons of thunder. (Mark 3:17)
· When Jesus was dying on the cross, he asked John to take care of his mother (John 19:25-27).
· In the Gospel of John, he frequently refers to the most beloved disciple. Some theologians believe he is referring to himself, while others believe the reference is used for the reader to insert himself into the role.
· Besides Paul, John was the most prolific writer in the New Testament. His body of work includes 'The Revelation of John' and three epistles.
· The Feast Day for St. John the Apostle is held in the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant denominations on December 27, the third day of Christmas. In the Orthodox Church, it is called the Feast of the Holy and Glorious Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, which is held September 26. This feast shouldn't be confused with the Feast of St. John the Baptist, which is held in both faith traditions on June 24.
St John Top Events and Things to Do
· Read the Gospel of John. It is different than the other three Gospels and was thought to be the last written of the four books in the New Testament.
· Read the Revelation of John, thought to be written by the apostle. The rich symbolism has been thought to foretell the end of the world, but many biblical scholars believe it was written to offer hope to Christians persecuted by Rome.
· St John is the Patron Saint of Turkey. Consider visiting this beautiful country - or take a virtual tour with Google Maps.
· St. John answered the call to be an apostle of Jesus. Have you listened for Jesus's call in your life?
· Pray today to know your own vocation.
· Bless your wine for the new year.
Blessing of the Wine
Traditionally wine is blessed on the Feast of St. John. Wine if used in moderation is a good thing. Yet, sometimes it may cause an increase in our fears or make us fool hardy when speaking, giving us a false sense of courage. So, blessing our wine is a good idea to dedicate its use for our good and not our detriment.
St. John's Day (December 27)
Saint John was the only Apostle who did not suffer martyrdom, though several attempts were made on his life. One of these involved giving him a glass of wine that had been poisoned. The saint, however, suffered no harm because he blessed it before he drank. It is in honor of this deliverance that the blessing and drinking of wine on St. John's Day was once a popular custom. People had a bottle of wine blessed after the Saint's Mass and then drank it at the family dinner (notice how easily this can still be done). The special blessing for this occasion from the Roman ritual sums up the meaning of this custom:
% Blessing for the 1st Cup
Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God! You willed that Your Son, equal to You in agelessness and substance should descend from heaven and in the fullness of time be born of the most holy Virgin Mary. Thus, He could seek the lost and wayward sheep and carry it on His shoulders to the sheepfold, and could cure the man fallen among robbers of his wounds by pouring in oil and wine. Deign now to bless and sanctify this wine which You produced for man's drink. Whoever drinks of it on this holy feast, grant him life in body and soul. By Your goodness, let it be to him strength to prosper him on the way, that his journey may come to a blessed end. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
% Blessing for the 2nd Cup
O Lord God deign to bless and consecrate with Thy right hand this cup of wine and of whatever drink: and grant that through the merits of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, all who believe in Thee and who drink from this cup may be blessed and protected. And as blessed John drank from the cup of poison and remained completely unharmed, may, through his merits, all who drink from the cup on this day in honor of blessed John be rescued from every sickness of poison and from every kind of harm; and, offering themselves up body and soul, may they be delivered from all fault. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
% Blessing of the 3rd Cup
Bless, O Lord, this creature of drink: that it may be a remedy of salvation for all who consume it: and grant through the invocation of Thy holy name that whoever will have tasted of it may, through Thy giving, experience health of the soul as well as of the body. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
% Blessing of the 4th Cup
Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit descend upon this creature of wine and of whatever drink and remain forever. Amen.
Today, on the day honoring the disciple who lay closest to Christ the High Priest during the first Mass, was the festival for priests.
1-quart red wine
3 whole cloves
1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 two-inch cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
Three French Hens
Today is traditionally the third day of Christmas and the Three French Hens from the song the 12 days of Christmas represent the three cardinal virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Let us talk to the Lord today and ask Him how we are doing in these three virtues and how we may improve in them.