Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 27, 2012
Thursday – Year of Faith
Feast of Saint John – Apostle and Evangelist
by Rev. Fr. Paul Marquez (St. Paul Church and Seminary, Bagtikan Street, Makati)
12;15PM Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 1 Jn 1:1-4

Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life -- for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us? 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.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12

R. (12) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are around him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Gospel Jn 20:1a and 2-8

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, "They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him." So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. 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.


Good afternoon and Merry Christmas po sa inyong lahat. We are still in the season of Christmas. And two days after Christmas, we are celebrating the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, and an Apostle of the Lord.

Tatlo pong fiesta ang sunod-sunod na ipinagdiriwang right after Christmas. Yesterday, we celebrated the Feast of St. Stephen, who was the first martyr. Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. John the Evangelist, beloved Disciple of the Lord. Tomorrow will be the feast day of the Holy Innocents.

Tatlo pong klase ang mga martyrs. First, St. Stephen is one who really wanted to be come a martyr and he was given the privilege to be so. The second kind of martyr is one who wanted to become a martyr, but was not given the privilege. That is St. John. St. John grew very old, very weak, until he died.

Like St. John, St. Therese of Avila, also wanted to become martyr. A fiesty woman, she always brought her little brother with her at the highway kung saan dumaraan ang mga Muslims, para hulihin sila ng mga Muslims at sila ay gawing mga martyrs. Nandamay pa si Ate, ano. Sana siya na lang. (laughs) But she was not given that privilege, and later on, St. Therese of Avila, would become, instead, a Doctor of the Church. Then tomorrow, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents na, kahit hindi naman nila ginusto, ay naging mga martyrs.

Our discipleship, or following the baby Jesus, who grew in age, in grace and in wisdom, can be done by people of all ages. Kagaya nila St. Stephen, isang senior citizen kagaya ni St. John, the beloved Apostle, at mga maliliit na sanggol, like the Holy Innocents. Even the little ones can already follow the Lord. Kahit nga ang mga Holy Innocents ay hindi pa baptized, they are said to have already been baptized by desire, because their parents wanted them to be Christians.

My dear friends, we heard from the First Reading 'yong napakagandang tagpo ng Resurrection. Hindi na nila nakita si Risen Christ before He was lifted up to heaven, but they saw the tomb that was empty. Nagmamadali pa ang dalawang Disciples. One was Peter, and the other one was 'the other Disciple whom Jesus loved'. He was not named by the author of the Gospel. The author of the Gospel is none other than St. John, the Beloved Apostle. Napaka-proper niya. Hindi niya nilagay ang pangalan niya. It is was a really moving, delicate, precious experience, na ayaw niyang basta lang ibalandra ang kanyang pangalan.

Nauna siyang tumakbo kasi mas magaan si St. John kasi bata pa siya noon, si St. Peter medyo malaki na 'yong kaha niya. Pero ang sabi, St. John stopped at the door of the tomb. Hinayaan niya si Peter mauna. He was very respectful of the authority. And only after Peter came to the tomb, did he also enter. At sabi sa Gospel, 'he saw and he believed'. Why did he believe? Kasi nakita niya na napaka-ayos ng linen clothes and it was set in one side of the tomb. Which means that even if Christ already rose from the dead, He is truly in charge of all the events that had happened. Hindi nagmamadali, at karakang umalis o ninakaw katulad ng ikinalat na balita. God was in charge.

My dear friends, bakit kaya two days after Christmas ay sinasabi sa atin ang Gospel na ito about the risen Christ? It is because we are reminded that the baby born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day grew up, and He was born, not only to be with us, but He was born to suffer, to die and rise again.

Naghanda tayo for Christmas for four weeks, during Advent. We also had nine days of Misa de Gallo. Pero pagdating ng Pasko, people still spend Christmas in a different way. May mga taong nagsasaya at sama-sama. Sa aming mga pari, people send us texts asking for prayers. 'Yong isang nagtext, 'yong father niya kinakailangang operahan sa utak on Christmas day. 'Yong isa naman, taga-Ifugao, 'yong kanyang sister-in-law ay nakunan on Christmas Day.

Kami naman sa bahay, my mom, our household help, at ilan lang kami sa bahay, nagbe-breakfast, we had to stand up and bring my mom to the hospital. Doon kami nag-Pasko sa hospital because her hemoglobin got very low and she needed blood. And on Christmas day, it was difficult to look for blood. That was the only time I wished kilala ko si Dracula (laughs) para mautusan ko siyang kumuha ng dugo. We were trying to find ways how to look for blood, three bags ang kailangan, until finally, mabuti na lang, 'yong pinsan ko, who is a doctor, managed to look for three bags. I just came from the hospital, and from here, I will go back. Hindi ko na nga napansin ang Christmas trimmings.

One Christmas, I was passing along the riles in Makati, nandiyan pa ang mga squatters noon, nakita ko may mga lamay. Sabi ko, Christmas day, may lamay. But that is very real, ano po? Di naman sinabi na Christmas ngayon, wala munang mamamatay, wala munang magkakasakit, wala munang ma-o-operahan. And we are asked to 'look into the cave'.

Sometimes what we see is only death or loss or nothingness. But we are reminded by today's Gospel to 'see and believe'. Sa experience natin, hindi naman palaging ganoong kaayos. But still the invitation remains the same - see and belive. That is the challenge of discipleship - it is a faith that has to grow up, not an infantile kind of faith. It is not just being pious in mentality, but having the faith that challenges us to see beyond our experiences. May the Lord God bless all of us.

Saint John – Pray for us

You may also want to see: A Holy Life - Saint John

A Holy Life

Saint John

The Apostle, Evangelist and Prophet

Feast day – December 27

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple. He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold the Saviour raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper. After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also. He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus.

Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them. He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John — all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: “My dear children, love one another.”

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

Sources for this article were taken from:



O Glorious Saint John, you were so loved by Jesus that you merited to rest your head upon his breast, and to be left in his place as a son to Mary. Obtain for us an ardent love for Jesus and Mary. Let me be united with them now on earth and forever after in heaven.

Prayer for the Enlightenment of Saint John

Merciful Lord, we beseech Thee to cast Thy bright beams of light upon Thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of Thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of Thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint John – Pray for us