The Word Made Visible



John evangelist


The Feast of St.John the Apostle (December 27) follows the birth of Jesus because the writings attributed to John– the 4th gospel and letters– treat the great question: Who is Jesus, the child born of Mary, who lived in Nazareth, preached in Galilee and Judea, died and rose again in Jerusalem?

John was one of the first disciples called by Jesus at the Sea of Galilee to bear witness to him; John sat beside him at the Last Supper; he went into the Garden of Gethsemane with him, then stood beside his cross. 

As the gospel reading for his feast reminds us, John saw the empty tomb and recognized Jesus risen from the dead. “‘It is the Lord,’ the other disciples whom Jesus loved said to Peter” on the Lake of Galilee as the Risen Christ appears. (John 21, 7) John has a special role identifying Jesus as human and divine. 

Tradition says John was the last of the apostles to die, and so writings identified with him proclaiming belief in both the divinity and humanity of Jesus had special authority in the early church. 

The gospel of John is assigned as the final gospel for Christmas day: “In the beginning was the Word.” The letters of John read at Mass most of the days after Christmas until the Feast of the Baptism continue to proclaim a theme of the gospel of John, that the Word became flesh, and  uphold the humanity of Jesus against those who deny the possibility that God would take human form. 

We know Jesus Christ through his humanity, just as the apostles did, the Ist Letter of John says. The One we know through his humanity is also the Word of God who is God.

“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.” 1 John 1-4

2 thoughts on “The Word Made Visible

  1. Harry warren

    Fr Victor. John always touches me. His writings are such a “first hand” gift to us. His evidence is not here-say. Just so moving. Thanks.


  2. vhoagland Post author


    John is also important because the gospel and letters attributed to him are strong witnesses to the early Christian belief in Jesus as divine and human. Today’s trendy presentations like to think that all came from the Constantinian Church of the 4th century. Before that, they like to think, it was all up for grabs.
    The Johannine church was aware of other opinions about Jesus. They called them heresies– wrong.
    Fr. Victor


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