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John the Evangelist
Collect for the Feast of Saint John
O God, who through the blessed Apostle John
have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word,
grant, we pray,
that we may grasp with proper understanding
what he has so marvelously brought to our ears.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen
John, known as the Evangelist and the "beloved disciple" was born in Bethsaida. He was called to follow Jesus while mending his fishing nets. John wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse (Revelation). His passages on the pre-existence of the Word, who by His Incarnation became the light of the world and life of our souls, are among the most powerful of the New Testament.
He is the evangelist of the divinity of Christ and His fraternal love. With James, his brother, and Simon Peter, he was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration. John is thought to have been especially close to Jesus; he alone was at the foot of the cross when Our Lord died, and it was to John that Jesus said "Behold thy Mother."
According to legend, the emperor Diocletian once tried to poison John by ordering him to drink a cup of poisoned wine. Saint John blessed the wine and the poison slithered away in the form of a snake.
I John 1: 1-4
Something which has existed since the beginning, that we have heard, and we have seen with our own eyes; that we have watched and touched with our hands: the Word, who is life -- this is our subject. That life was made visible: we saw it and we are giving our testimony, telling you of the eternal life which was with the Father and has been made visible to us. What we have seen and heard we are telling you so that you too may be in union with us, as we are in union with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.
John 20:1a, 2-8
On the first day of the week Mary of Magdala came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb" she said "and we don't know where they have put Him". So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen clothes lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over His head, this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.
Suggested family activities
Many countries have the tradition of blessing wine in the name of Saint John on this feast. Often a sweetened, spiced red wine is prepared and served hot (alcohol is evaporated after boiling for five minutes). At dinner on Saint John's Day, the father blesses a large cup of wine. Each member of the family takes a drink and passes the cup, saying "I drink to you in the love of Saint John".
Blessing of Saint John's Wine
Blessed art Thou, Lord God, who fillest the hungry and satisfiest the thirsty, And givest us wine to gladden our hearts. Grant that all who drink this wine in remembrance of Saint John may rejoice in Thee and be invited to sit at Thy heavenly banquet for ever and ever. Amen.
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