Today we celebrate the feast of St. John the Apostle, one of the closest disciples of Jesus and a witness to the events of his passion, death, and resurrection. As we read in the Gospel of John, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. She ran and told Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, who was probably St. John himself.
The two men ran to the tomb and found it empty, just as Mary had told them. But St. John outran Peter and reached the tomb first. When he saw the empty tomb and the grave clothes lying there, he believed that Jesus had risen from the dead, just as he had said he would.
This event, the resurrection of Jesus, is at the heart of our faith as Christians. It is the cornerstone of our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that through his resurrection, we have the hope of eternal life.
But this event also has a special connection to the feast of Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. For it was through his birth, life, death, and resurrection that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament and became the savior of the world.
As we reflect on the feast of St. John the Apostle, let us remember the great love and faith of this apostle, who remained loyal to Jesus even in the face of great hardship and persecution. And let us also remember the incredible gift of salvation that God has given us through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.
May we all seek to follow in the footsteps of St. John and strive to live our lives in accordance with the teachings of Jesus, so that we too may share in the hope of eternal life. Amen.