I love these feast days after Christmas - they are my patronal feasts - I'm called after John and Stephen. St John is an interesting saint, renowned for his holiness and purity, the Beloved Disciple, who was entrusted with caring for Our Lady in the last years of her life - a wonderful privilege. According to tradition John lived to a great age, dying of natural causes, although he was almost martyred a couple of times - once by boiling oil, another by a poisoned drink. He survived both and went on to write the Gospel and New Testament letters attributed to him, and the Book of Revelation.
Now, that is a controversial statement, and my former New Testament lecturer will be shaking his head in disbelief, but seeing as there is no definite evidence to contradict the ancient tradition of attributing the works to St John the Apostle, I will follow the tradition until it can proven beyond reasonable doubt the tradition is incorrect. Call me old fashioned, a reactionary conservative or a festering barnacle, I don't care. Tradition until proven otherwise.
Anyway, back to St John. According to tradition (ahem), he is buried in Ephesus in the ruins of a former Christian basilica. John is renowned for his devotion to the Lord and his gentleness, although one has to wonder how gentle he was given that the Lord nicknamed him and his brother James "sons of thunder". He also had an ambitious streak, the Gospels recording how he wanted to sit on one side of Christ in the kingdom. But, with age and holiness those faults were dealt with and by the end of his life he was deeply venerated for his profound sanctity. There is hope for all of us.
O Holy Saint John.
Friend of Christ,
Protector of the Virgin Mother of the Lord,
Martyr in desire,
Visionary of Patmos,
Teacher in Love,
pray for us
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.