The holy apostle and evangelist John the Theologian, who, a son of Zebedee, with his brother James and Peter was a witness to the transfiguration and also the passion of the Lord. At the cross, he took Mary as his mother at the command of the dying Lord. In the Gospel and in his other writings John shows himself to be a theologian. He was found worthy to contemplate the glory of the incarnate Word, which he saw and proclaimed. When Saint John was more than one hundred years old, he told seven of his disciples to take spades and follow him to a certain place outside the city of Ephesus, and then he told everyone to sit down while he went off to pray by himself for a while. When he returned, he told his disciples to dig a grave as long as he was tall, in the form of a cross. After giving them instructions and kissing them, he climbed into the grave and said: “Take some earth, my mother earth, and cover me.” They covered him with earth up to his knees, and he said: “Now take some more earth and cover me up to my neck.” As soon as they had done this, Saint John spoke again: “Bring a linen cloth and place it on my face, then kiss me again for the last time, because you shall not see me anymore in this life.” After the Apostle dismissed them, they buried him and wept bitterly. Later, they returned and opened the grave, but the Saint’s body was not there. They wept and returned to the city. Every year, on May 8, a red dust appears on his grave, which heals the sick, through the prayers of the Holy Apostle John. People call this dust “manna from the earth.”
Beloved apostle of Christ our God, hasten to deliver a people that lacks any other defense. He who accepted that you lay your head on his breast will also accept your prayer. Pray to Christ, O Theologian, that He may overcome the darkness of pagan nations, and beg that He grant us peace and abundant mercy.
O man of purity, who could describe your glory? Many are the miracles and healings you perform. Since you are a theologian and the beloved of Christ, intercede with Him for the salvation of our souls.
1st John 1: 1-7
Beloved, this is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands touched–we speak of the word of life. (This life became visible; we have seen and bear witness to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life that was present to the Father and became visible to us.) What we have seen and heard we proclaim in turn to you so that you may share life with us. This fellowship of ours is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. Indeed, our purpose in writing you this is that our joy may be complete.
Here, then, is the message we have heard from him and announce to you: that God is light; in him there is no darkness. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while continuing to walk in darkness, we are liars and do not act in truth. But if we walk in light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
John 19: 25-27 & 21: 24-25
At that time near the cross of Jesus there stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Seeing his mother there with the disciples whom he loved, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, there is your son.” In turn he said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” From that hour onward, the disciple took her into his care.
It is the same disciple who is witness to these things; it is he who wrote them down and his testimony, we know, is true. There are still many other things that Jesus did, yet if they were written about in detail, I doubt there would be room enough in the entire world to hold the books to record them.
Acts 12: 12-17
In those days [after Peter had been miraculously freed from prison], he went to the house of Mary the mother of John (also known as Mark), where many others gathered in prayer. Peter knocked at the door and a maid named Rhoda came to answer it. On recognizing his voice she was so overjoyed that she did not stop to open the door, but ran in and announced that Peter was outside. “You’re out of your wits,” they said to her, but she insisted it was true. All they could say was, “It must be his angel.” Through all this, Peter kept on knocking. They finally opened the door and were astonished to see him. He motioned to them to be quiet, and explained how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Report this to James and the brothers,” he said, then left them to go off to another place.
John 8: 42-51
The Lord said to the people coming to him: “Were God your father you would love me, for I came forth from God, and am here. I did not come of my own will; it was he who sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. The father you spring from is the devil, and willingly you carry out his wishes. He brought death to man from the beginning, and has never based himself on truth; the truth is not in him. Lying speech is his native tongue; he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I deal in the truth, you give me no credence. Can any one of you convict me of sin? If I am telling the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears every word God speaks. The reason you do not hear is that you are not of God.”
The Jews answered, “Are we not right, after all, in saying you are a Samaritan, and possessed besides?” Jesus replied: “I am not possessed. However, I revere my Father, while you fail to respect me. I seek no glory for myself; there is one who seeks it, and it is he who judges. I solemnly assure you, if a man is true to my word he shall never see death.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Sunday, May 7 –