Saint John is the disciple “whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23). He it was who leant on the bosom of Our Lord at the Last Supper, who stood, next day, beside the Cross on Calvary, and to whose care the dying Saviour confided His Mother: “After that, he says to the disciple: ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own.” (John 19:27). We see him out-distancing Peter in a race to the tomb: “And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.” (John 20:4).
But Saint Peter had his victory later: “And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in. Then comes Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre.” (John 20:5,6).
No knocking at the door, no sensitiveness or shyness about that grand old man of the sea, wherever his Master was concerned!
In the year 95 A.D., during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, Saint John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but emerged from it unhurt, and lived to an advanced old age at Ephesus. This is celebrated by the Church on May 6th by a special feast: “Saint John before the Latin Gate.” On that holy spot there is a church in his honour in Rome today. The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Saint John’s on the Lateran Hill is on 9th November.
Besides his fourth Gospel and three Epistles he wrote the Apocalypse.
Saint John was unmarried and remained so till his death. To him, a virgin, Christ entrusted His Virgin Mother. As he stood beneath the Cross on Calvary, his sufferings were equal to martyrdom. There also he drank as from a fountain a heavenly knowledge of the Holy Mass. Let us go in imagination to the Mass said by Saint John in the presence of the Blessed Virgin. What an acceptable offering that must have been! What better companions can we have to walk to Mass with us than Mary and Saint John who walked the way to Calvary! What better guides can we have to kneel beside us during Mass than Mary and Saint John who stood by the Cross!