8 October 2021

Over the next few months, we will look at each of Jude’s fellow Apostles. This week, Jesuit scholar, Fr Nicholas King, SJ is reflecting on the Apostle - Saint John.

Saint John - the beloved
by Fr Nicholas King, SJ

Who was this John? There are too many possibilities, unfortunately.

They include at least the following: the son of Zebedee, brother of James, who seems to have been a partner in the local fishing business. Then there is the “elder John”, who wrote the Book of Revelation, while in exile for the faith on Samos; there is also the one whom we know as the Beloved Disciple, whose head was on Jesus’ breast at the last supper, who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion, and the blood and water coming from his side.

This one knew him as well as anybody. It was the Beloved Disciple who was the one to recognise the mysterious stranger after the miraculous draught of fish by the Sea of Galilee. And what does this one, with the perceptiveness of love, have to say to us? Well, let us think of him as an evangelist; and, of course, we are all evangelists, you and I, tasked with the charge of telling the world the good news about his beloved Lord.

And how are we to set about this? By getting to know and love Jesus as he appears in John’s gospel. This thought might help: when Jesus meets his first two disciples, he asks them “what are you looking for?” (1:38); then at the end, when he meets Mary Magdalen, the question has become “whom are you looking for?”. Our task is to move from a “what” to a “who”; and then we shall preach the gospel.

Let us pray..

Lord, we ask that through the intercession of the Beloved Disciple 
We may learn to gaze with love on the picture of Jesus
And listen with love to what Jesus says to us
And so bring the message of his gospel to all the world.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Saint John, pray for us - help us to keep spreading the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

Why not find out more about Saint John? We would recommend you read some of these excellent books or articles:

Fr Nicholas King is a Jesuit priest who is currently based in London. He has recently published a translation of the entire Greek Bible.

Pictured: statue in the Saint John Lateran in Rome. The twelve niches created by Borromini's architecture were left empty for decades. When late in 1702 Pope Clement XI and Benedetto Cardinal Pamphili, archpriests of the Lateran Basilica, announced their grand scheme for twelve over life-size sculptures of the Apostles to fill the niches, the project was open to all the premier sculptors of late baroque Rome. Each statue was to be sponsored by an illustrious prince with the pope himself taking on Saint Peter and Pamphili John the Evangelist. Photo credit:pedrojperez (from I Stock Photo.com)