Good News for the Day, December 27, 2017
Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist (697)
At the end of the Sabbath—early the next day—Mary Magdalene ran away from the tomb; hurrying to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, to tell them, “They have taken the Lord, our Leader, away from the tomb; we don’t know where they have put him.” Peter then and the other disciple went out and arrived at the tomb. Though they both ran, the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got to the tomb first. Looking down and around, he observed the burial cloths there, but did not enter the tomb. When Simon Peter came up after him, he did in fact go into the tomb where he saw the burial cloths, as well as the cloth that had covered His head—though not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a place apart. Then the other disciple went in, too—the one who had arrived at the tomb first—he saw and came to believe. (John 20)
This John is intriguing—a man of mystery. With his brother James, he is called from his job fishing; he becomes part of the three who stay closest to Jesus, often talking with Him. Here, though, at the end of His life, there appears “the other disciple, the one Jesus loved.” Tradition has identified him as John, the Apostle, and then attributed this Gospel to this same John along with three letters and Revelations.
While that knowledge seems a distraction here. the point is the very last word: “(he) came to believe.” What did he “come to believe”? Certainly not just the fact of resurrection, the doctrine that Jesus had risen from being dead.
The person who wrote this is saying that the individual John or some other “beloved” disciple—ANY other disciple—commits to “believing” in the Gospel Life—the theme Jesus harped on–that life is more than death, that being killed is not the end, and that each mortal can share that Life. Throughout the Good News of John—more than the others, you read of Life, a life of Love—a boundless infinite, death-defying Life. Here a “beloved”—no longer “John” but someone just like you—witnesses this Life.
You, of course—of course!—are that beloved child of God, called not to believe a “fact” of resurrection, but its meaning—that life that is more than mere living along—coasting. this commitment lets you to pass beyond this moment, this grief, joy, anxiety or suffering—into a Life of permanently being-re-born, an everlasting Christmas.