Christmas is a special time for celebrating friendships. Sometimes friends are as close as—or even closer than—relatives and are considered “family.” Jesus’ disciple John the Evangelist was just such a person and his feast is celebrated today, at Christmas time. John is described in the Gospels as a constant companion and “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Compassionate and loyal, John was the only apostle who stayed with Jesus during his passion. While John was standing with Mary at the foot of the cross, Jesus asked him to take care of his mother and be a son to her, which John did for the rest of her life. During John’s ministry of writing and preaching, his primary message was, “Love one another.” Let us also be disciples whom Jesus especially loves; caring and steadfast as John was. Jesus also asks us to fill in for him and to be family to those around us.
By Mary Jackle, OSB