Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist (Feast)
What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you.
So just what does an evangelist do? According to St. John, he takes what he has seen, heard, touched, and experienced and tells people about it. That seems simple enough, doesn’t it? What did John see and touch and believe? Jesus. He traveled with him, he heard him teach, he saw him die, he looked into the empty tomb, and he saw Jesus resurrected.
You might guess that John’s efforts at evangelization focused on those events. Certainly, he doesn’t skip over them, but he also makes it a point to get to the reason behind each and every thing he witnessed Jesus doing: love. Everything, from John’s calling on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, right up to Pentecost Sunday, pointed to God’s abiding love.
It was love that moved John to leave behind his nets and begin a new life as a disciple of Christ (Matthew 4:21-22). When his mother asked for honored positions for her sons, John took Jesus’ response, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?” as an expression of Jesus’ love and concern for his spiritual growth (20:22). He experienced that love as he leaned against Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper and asked who it was who would betray him (John 13:25). And when he stooped to look into the empty tomb, John experienced a love so powerful that it could not be confined to the grave (20:5).
All of these things, and so many more, were tangible demonstrations of Jesus’ personal love for John. He didn’t just see them with his eyes or touch them with his hands; he felt them with his heart. And that’s what inspired him to proclaim the gospel. As an evangelist, John wanted everyone who heard his message to understand that they too are the disciple whom Jesus loves (John 20:2).
What have you seen and heard? Like John, you too are a beloved disciple. And that means that you too can proclaim God’s love to the people around you. It’s not a difficult task. Just find a way to speak from your heart—and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
“Lord, open my eyes to the ways your love enfolds every event of my life, and show me how to share it.”
Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 11-12
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