Saint John’s Eagle-Eyed View

El Greco (ca. 1600)

Today is the feast of Saint John the Evangelist, also called the ‘Beloved’, as the one closest to the heart of Our Lord, likely the youngest Apostle, who lived to ripe old age, writing his Apocalypse (Revelation) towards the end of the first century.  He is the only Apostle not celebrated as a martyr, witnessing to his faith in other ways, by his life and writings, and in his exile by Emperor Domitian to the lonely, barren isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea, where tradition has it that he composed his treatises.

His Gospel follows a different trajectory of Christ’s life from the other three ‘synoptic’ Gospels (literally, with the ‘same eye’), which all follow more or less the same events.  John sees things from a more theological perspective, eternal, heavenly – which is why his symbol is the eagle. His narrative places the greatest emphasis and clarity on Christ as the pre-existent Logos, always ‘with’ the Father.  But Saint John also portrayed Christ in His full humanity, the ‘Word made Flesh’, to deny which, as he declares in his first letter (4:3), is the very spirit of the Antichrist.

So let us pray to the Apostle today, that we may see things from just such a perspective, far above the passing travails of this world, as time and history move ever onward to the end of this 2022nd year Anno Domini, and, in a broader sense, to whatever personal or worldwide apocalypse – that is, what that same Lord of history wills to reveal to us – we all must face, one day.