FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
April 16, 2017
WORD of the DAY
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths* there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead. (John 20: 3-9.)
It is not easy to believe in Jesus’ Resurrection, a fundamental event, central to all of Christianity, without which “our preaching would be empty and empty our faith as well” (Cf. 1 Cor. 15: 14). John the Evangelist shows in his Gospel this special awareness of the importance and the difficulty of faith in the Risen Christ. In fact, doubts run through the whole of Chapter 20. They doubt Mary of Magdala, Peter, the disciples, Thomas; the novelty of the Paschal Mystery upsets and surprises everyone! And us as well! It is not by chance that John ends his Gospel with the last ‘beatitude’, applicable to us his readers today as well: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!” (John 20:29).
Mary of Magdala had gone early in the morning while it was still dark to cry over His dead body. But she cannot because His body is no longer there. She is desperate. Her love was still that of before. Jesus calls her by name and transfers her into a new experience of Easter communion. From now on it will need the clairvoyance of faith that loves to be able to recognize, meet, and communicate with the Risen Lord.
Mary immediately runs to Simon Peter and he and John hurry to the tomb. John is younger and arrives there first but he waits for Peter before going in. They see the cloths and the face cloth, but these signs are not enough for them to believe. Everything seems in order but the body is missing. Peter has no privilege for faith; the signs are the same for all and all of us must try to enter into an authentic journey of faith toward the Easter Mystery.
The beloved disciple John, enters the tomb but he approaches with faith…he enters, sees and believes…the whole of his gospel highlights the importance of seeing in relation to believing. Faith consists in this penetrating gaze that leads us to go beyond.
Today, we must all be John, the disciple who lets Jesus love him and thus arrives at faith. We must love in order to understand and we must understand in order to believe!