The Church has always identified the Apostle John as the author of the fourth Gospel and the beloved disciple described in that Gospel. This common belief is richly reflected in the Church’s liturgy.
The universal Church today celebrates the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. The readings, prayers, and antiphons unmistakably reflect the belief of the Church concerning these issues. For example, one of the antiphons for morning prayer on this feast day provides: “John, the apostle and evangelist, a virgin chosen by the Lord, was loved by the Lord above the others.”
There are sound biblical and historical arguments as well for the identification of St. John as the author of the fourth Gospel and the “beloved disciple.” CUF’s Faith Fact on this subject, written by my colleague, friend, and skilled apologist Tom Nash, sets forth these arguments very effectively.
All this might be very useful to any of our readers who might hear a homily today that disputes or outright contradicts this tradition.
Beyond the larger issue of the reliability of Scripture and the Church’s tradition, this matters to me on a personal level: My son Samuel John’s middle name was chosen because my desire for him is that he become a beloved disciple like St. John who will take our Blessed Mother into his heart and into his home (John 19:26-27).
And speaking of Tom Nash, his dynamic book on the biblical roots of the Mass, Worthy is the Lamb, is available through Emmaus Road Publishing.