Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Feast of St. John has so many intellectual roadblocks for me. Partially, it’s the mystery around its celebration on the third day of Christmas. Celebrating the Holy Family and the Holy Innocents makes sense, but John, why? The selected Gospel confuses me even more. Why did the evangelist appropriate Mary Magdalene’s place in being the first to believe in the resurrection? And why a reading about the Resurrection when it’s Christmas?!?
St. Ignatius’s words get me out of my head. When I do, this reading becomes simple. A man sees the truth and the living Jesus becomes alive in him. Jesus is born again in John. When did you first know the resurrected Jesus personally? Remember that moment and let it fill your soul again with Christmas joy.
—Mark Bartholet is a John Carroll University alumnus who coordinates the Contemplative Leaders in Action program and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Peter Catholic Church, the Jesuit parish in Charlotte, NC.
This is the gospel of the primal light,
The first beginning, and the fruitful end,
The soaring glory of an eagle’s flight,
The quiet touch of a beloved friend.
This is the gospel of our transformation,
Water to wine and grain to living bread,
Blindness to sight and sorrow to elation,
And Lazarus himself back from the dead!
This is the gospel of all inner meaning,
The heart of heaven opened to the earth,
A gentle friend on Jesus’ bosom leaning,
And Nicodemus offered a new birth.
No need to search the heavens high above,
Come close with John, and feel the pulse of Love.