The beloved disciple—St John the Theologian

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.

How much trust, dear brothers and sisters, do you place in “anonymous sources”?  They are commonly used in journalism but have little standing in a court of law—such statements would be classed as hearsay, little more than gossip or rumour.  Most would not want to place anything at risk based on a rumour, change their lives because of gossip, place all on the line because of hearsay.  We want to know who has said such a thing and is the testimony trustworthy.

This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

At the end of his Gospel, the Apostle John, the beloved disciple, puts himself forward as the witness of the entire Gospel account.  It is a bold move.  But we see by his life that he is a trustworthy source.  He alone among the twelve disciples remained at the foot of the Cross with the women and took responsibility for the care of the Theotokos; by his prayers the Temple to Diana in Ephesus was destroyed without loss of human life and the demon who lived there for 249 years was driven out; he it was who brought the Faith to the governor of the penal colony on Patmos.  It was John who, while in prayer on the mountain, had revealed from God the Word, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)  It was John, when in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, who heard Christ saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.” (Rev. 1:11)  It was John, after whose earthly death his body was transported to Heaven.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we may have trust in the Gospel because of the testimony of the Apostle and Theologian John; but not only he, for ever since Christ’s victory over sin, demons and death there has been golden chain of saints down to our day.  This week we have celebrated the memory of St Silouan the Athonite who died in 1938 but this brings immediately to mind St Sophrony of Essex, St Silouan’s disciple, who died in 1993.  God in his love for us continues to give us saints who stand as living witnesses to this day.  We may place our trust in their testimony—not in hearsay, gossip and rumour, but in the witness of one who has received the Tradition and passed it on to us: that we may become the saints we were created to be and pass the Tradition on.

And the beloved disciple gives us a Word to encourage us in this quest, this mission.

And the [Holy] Spirit and the bride [the Church] say, “Come!”  And let him who hears say, “Come!”  And let him who thirsts come.  Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.  He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Apocalypse of John (Revelation) 22:17,20f

At that time, standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

John 19:25–27; 21:24–25