Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Joy May Be Complete

December 27, 2010
Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist

“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. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.” 1 John 1:3-4

When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. John 20:6-8

Father, while this Christmas season is filled with the joy of the incarnation, our joy can not be complete if we focus only on the babe the manger. Jesus, as we gaze upon you in your crib, you gaze upon us from your cross. Holy Spirit, strengthen our faith and action as you did the faith and action of John the Evangelist. Amen.

Just two days after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. The babe is barely warm in his swaddling clothes, yet we focus today on one of the most important of the disciples.

Throughout Advent, we focused on John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Lord. Today’s feast allows us to focus on another significant John, the one who helped show the example of faith in action and then used that faith to proclaim the word.

John challenges us to check how deep our faith in Jesus is. John did not need to touch the wounds like Thomas. John did not retreat to his comfort zone of fishing like Peter. John did not need to be knocked off his horse and blinded like Paul. John just knew what he had witnessed. His faith -- without question -- is the cornerstone we celebrate today.

Do you need to step inside the burial chamber and inspect the empty tomb and cloth left behind? Or do you stand outside the door and know? How far will we go? What will we do with our faith to fulfill the challenge in the second reading and the example of John?

How close are you to Jesus? In this Christmas season, it is quite easy to get close to a baby and cuddle up with Him. Kiss Him. Sing to Him. It is quite another thing to stand at the foot of the cross while your friend and mentor hangs in front of you, a convicted criminal executed by the combined efforts of the government and the local church officials. It is quite another thing to hear his last words uttered while his mother weeps at your side.

For every Christmas, there must be Good Friday. For every Good Friday, there must be Easter. John the Evangelist helps us to focus on the Resurrection part of our faith and not be too blinded by our red-and-green tinted glasses and holiday cookies and decorations.