Just as St. Stephen's day is a day, or the day, for deacons, St. John's day is a day for priests, without whom we would be lost. Who else, to use an old word I recently encountered in a Walker Percy novel, shrive us of our sins on a regular basis, anoint us for healing, and above all preside at the Eucharist, all in persona Christi captis (i.e., "in the person of Christ the head)? This should motivate each of us to both pray for vocations to the priesthood and encourage those young men so inclined to pursue this truly awesome vocation.
Each year on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, known more popularly as Christmas (couldn't resist, sorry), for Mass During the Day, we read the first eighteen verses of the first chapter of St. John's Gospel, which constitute the Gospel's prologue. In verse fourteen we read,
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truthThe original Greek word used for "dwelling" literally means "tabernacle." In Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, commenting on this passage, Pope Benedict XVI wrote, "The man Jesus is the dwelling-place of the Word, the eternal divine Word, in this world. Jesus' 'flesh,' his human existence, is the dwelling-place of the Word: the reference to the sacred tent of Israel in the wilderness is unmistakable.
To bring this reflection a little closer to earth, just think of the presence of Msgr. Robert Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Newtown, Connecticut, along with his parochial vicar, Father Luke Suarez- (More on that tomorrow on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs).
God our Father,
you have revealed the mysteries of your Word
through John the apostle.
By prayer and reflection
may we come to understand the wisdom he taught.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, forever and ever. Amen