December 27, 2021
by Rev. Rich Gabuzda
The Institute for Priestly Formation
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Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 697

1 John 1:1-4
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
John 20:1a and 2-8

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Seeing, Hearing, Proclaiming

In a striking parallel to the prologue of the Gospel of John, today’s first reading presents the mystery of Jesus, the Word of Life.  The focus of this prologue, however, is not so much on this Word, but on the witness, the testimony, of those who saw, heard, and touched Jesus:  “What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you.”

The triad, seeing, hearing, and proclaiming, serves as a concise summary of the apostolic life and calling, the life that has borne witness to Jesus, not only in that first generation of witnesses, but down to our own day. 

When we consider what has impacted us most in our faith journey, certainly what we have seen and heard from other people remains a powerful influence .  It may have been a teacher, or priest, or religious.  Perhaps it was the example of parents, spouse, close friends, or even neighbors. It may be that reading about the life of a saint set us on fire. 

An attractive joy manifested to others, a life deeply committed to practical acts of charity, an extraordinary resilience in the face of trial and suffering are eloquent testimonies.  They provoke questions in the hearts of those who see and hear:  “Why are you so happy?  What moved you to do that?  How have you been able to survive so much difficulty?”  Responding to questions like that can deepen the witness.  As we read in the First Letter of Peter:  “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.”

The Feast day today and the accompanying scripture remind us that we, too, are among those who have seen and heard.  Now it is our time to proclaim, in small ways, or large ways, by our joy, our charity, our life of faith, the One we have seen and heard.

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