Friday, December 27, 2019

Feast of St. John, apostle and evangelist


(I John 1:1-4; John 20:1a.2-8)


Once a disillusioned pilgrim returned from the Holy Land lamenting the conditions he encountered.  Not only was there strife between Jews and Arabs, but hawkers constantly besieged him with souvenir trinkets.  Even in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born on a serene night, he found conflict.  The man marveled at how times have changed, but he only had to read the Scriptures closely to realize that trouble is nothing new to the area.


Although the Gospel of Luke depicts a tranquil setting for Jesus’ birth, there is much evidence of conflict during New Testament times.  King Herod as a tyrant who worried little if at all in ordering his people killed.  Roman occupation caused increasing civic unrest until an open rebellion erupted a generation after Jesus’ death.  Of course, there is the acrimonious debate between Jesus and the Pharisees which is believed to reflect trouble between the first Christians and their Jewish counterparts.


In spite of all this conflict, the writer of the First Letter of John offers a testimony of hope.  Much more than a dream or vision, the testimony involves a real human being – one he looked upon with his eyes, heard with his ears, and touched with his hands.  He is saying that in the midst of turmoil, Jesus offers eternal life to faithful followers.