Standing between Mary and the Altar in the Vision the witnesses saw a figure dressed as a bishop with a short mitre. He was identified as John the Evangelist from a statue in another church. John was turned partly out to the people and partly towards the altar, while looking at the lamb. He was holding an open bible or missal in his left hand. His right hand was raised with index and middle fingers pointing upwards and his remaining fingers and thumb were closed, signifying the Trinity. He appeared to be speaking or preaching and making a point forcibly to his audience.
John the Apostle is author of much of the New Testament – the fourth Gospel, three Letters and the Book of Revelation. John and his brother James were fishermen, who left their nets to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:20-22). Peter, James and John were closest to Jesus, chosen to be present at the raising to life of Jairus’ daughter, at the Transfiguration, and during Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 5:21-43; 9:1-8; 14:32-42). John knew himself to be deeply loved and refers to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ (John 19:26).
On the third day after Jesus’ death Mary Magdalene found the tomb empty and ran to tell the apostles. Peter and John immediately ran to the tomb. John arrived first, but stepped back to allow Peter, the leader appointed by Jesus, to be the first apostolic witness of the Resurrection (John 20:1-10).
When Jesus ascended bodily to heaven he left a church on earth to carry on his work, to be his presence until the end of time. Jesus entrusted leadership of the church to the apostles, with Peter at their head. The apostles in their turn, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, appointed bishops, priests and deacons, who are the hierarchical expression of the Church.
The family is established by God, with its own Sacrament of Marriage. The family, the ‘domestic church’, and the ‘hierarchical church’, need each other. Both can be seen in the Vision of Knock – Jesus, Mary and Joseph represent the ‘domestic church’, while John and Jesus, Lamb of God, represent the ‘hierarchical church’. Holy Orders and Marriage are the two Sacraments ‘at the service of communion’, with a mission to build up the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1533-1535).
John is seen in the Vision robed as a bishop who is teaching or preaching from the Word of God. Every Bishop has three main tasks (in which his priests participate): to teach, sanctify, and govern. The Bishop is the chief catechist in his diocese, while parents have a mission from God to educate their children in the faith (often with significant help from grandparents). This dual mission requires the closest possible collaboration between the hierarchical and domestic churches in co-responsibility for handing on the faith to upcoming generations – the provision of authentically Catholic schools is especially important (Canon Law 375,519,793-796).
Lord bless our Holy Father the Pope, the Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Deacons that they may draw strength from St John as they witness to the Lamb of God and the teaching of the Church. Help and guide our bishops in supporting Catholic families to live their faith to the full and to hand on the faith to their children and grandchildren. Guide all families to respect the authority and teaching of the Church, that we may truly love one another in our families, and collaborate fully in the New Evangelization, reaching out to the whole world.
Something which is known to have been from the beginning.
That we have heard and seen with our own eyes;
Something we have watched & touched with our own hands:
The Word, who is life – this is what we speak about.
We are giving our testimony that Jesus,
The eternal Word who was with the Father
Has now appeared to us.
What we have seen and heard we tell to you
So that you may be in union with us,
As we are in union with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
We write this to you to make our joy complete.
First Letter of John1:1-4.