We follow the Feast of Christmas with the feasts of St. Stephen and St. John, two saints who point to the meaning of this mystery:
“The love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven,” St. Fulgentius says of the martyr who was put to death for proclaiming his belief in Jesus Christ.
St. Augustine comments on John’s words: “We proclaim to you what we have heard and seen.”
“Make sure that you grasp the meaning of these words. The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen.
“Are we then less favoured than those who both saw and heard? If that were so, why should John add: “so that you too may have fellowship with us?” They saw, and we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share the same faith.
“And our fellowship is with God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And we write this to you to make your joy complete – complete in that fellowship, in that love and in that unity.”
John’s letters and gospel are read at Mass on the days that follow the Feast of Christmas.