On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala ran to Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved. And she said to them, «They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have laid him». Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came following him and entered the tomb; he, too, saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around his head was not lying flat like the other linen cloths but lay rolled up in its place. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and believed.
The person who is able to see what is there and identify the invisible truth of life, will be happy and joyful. The resurrection of the Lord, though seems to us simple to understand and perceive, it was not so, then to the disciples of the Lord. Jean is helping us to understand this resurrection from an empty tomb without the body of their loved ONE.
Many at time in our difficult moments of life, like sickness of our dear ones, or accidents or failures, we refuse to see the important elements available before us. We may cry for the sick person, while totally ignoring that the son or the daughter is a doctor at home or it’s simply a fever or cough, or an ordinary sickness, or even if it is serious, there are sufficient treatments and persons available to take care of the sick person. If we refuse to see these means which are at the door step, then we will continue to cry for the dead, whereas the resurrection and the joy is before us. We should learn to see towards the right direction and in the right way.
John saw in this disturbed time, materials like cloths in the empty tomb, were well arranged and in order, which implied that there was not an intruder or undesired guest. It is in these visible signs that he discovered the sign of hope and the joy of the resurrection. From visible to invisible truth. In every moment of life, if we learn to see what we have, particularly the persons and the means at our disposition, then we will be able to see even in the death, the resurrection and in the pain, a reason to be joyful and happy. God has given these things, pain and joy, at the same time, with a great difference of density. It is in our hand to see and chose what we desire. John has chosen to see the resurrection and Mary of Magdalen has chosen the empty tomb. Both are right and the result will be drastically different and extreme.
«He saw and believed»
Fr. Manel VALLS i Serra
Today, the liturgy celebrates the festivity of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist. The first day after Christmas, the Church celebrates Saint Stephen's day, the first martyr of the Christian faith. And the following day is the feast of Saint John. Saint John is the one who better and most deeply understood the mystery of the Word Incarnate. John was the very first “theologian” and best example for any other true theologian. Today's proposed fragment of his Gospel helps us to consider Christmas from the perspective of the Lord's Resurrection. Indeed, when John arrived to the empty tomb, «he saw and believed» (Jn 20:8). Trusting the Apostles’ testimony, every Christmas we are stimulated to ‘see’ and ‘believe’, too.
We can also find these same words “see” and “believe” in connection with Jesus' birth, the Verb incarnated. Pushed by his heart's intuition —and we should add, by “grace”— John “sees” beyond what, at that time, his eyes cannot yet see. In fact, he believes without “having yet seen” the Christ; and receives the praise of those «who haven't seen me and believe anyway» (Jn 20:29), that ends chapter twenty of his Gospel.
Peter and John “run” together towards the tomb, but the text says John «outran Peter and reached the tomb first» (Jn 20:4). It seems that the desire to be again by the side of the One he loved —Christ— was stronger than that of physically being next to Peter, with whom, however —by waiting for him and allowing him to be the first to enter the tomb— he shows that it is Peter who holds the primacy of the Apostolic College. Yet, it is his ardent heart, full of zeal, John's impassionate love, which impels him to “run” and “outrun”, in a clear invitation for us to equally live our faith with such a fervent desire to see the Resurrection.