Among the first twelve apostles called by Jesus, and known as the “beloved disciple,” John knew Jesus well and loved him deeply. He heard him teach and saw him perform miracles. At the Last Supper, John had the privilege of sitting next to Jesus and leaning against his breast (John 13:23). He was the only disciple who remained with the Lord as he was dying on the cross, where Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to him (John 19:25-27).
Through prayerful reflection on Jesus’ words and deeds, John understood that Jesus is the way to eternal life (John 14:6)–a life revealed first to the disciples and then to all people: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3 NAB).
Although banished to the island of Patmos for a time, John was an active evangelist, founding many churches and proclaiming Jesus’ immense love for us through his writings–including his Gospel, three letters, and the book of Revelation.
Jesus invites us to experience the same love and intimacy John knew. He has given us the gifts of prayer and Scripture to strengthen us in our daily lives, the gift of one another in the Church for support and encouragement, and finally, the gift of his very self in the Eucharist.
The Church has set aside December 27th to celebrate the holy life of St. John the Beloved.