Sunday Gospel Reflection

April 21st 2019 – John 20: 1-9

He must rise from the dead

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

    So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

Take a moment & reflect

– with Monsignor Robert Draper

Someone not fully aware of the Christian story and attending a service called in the Missal ‘The Mass of the Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord’ might be a little surprised not to hear a story of spectacle and drama, but rather a story about a race to an empty tomb and a rather involved account of linen cloths being in one place rather than another. The key phrase which could easily be missed regards John (‘the other disciple’ who got to the tomb first): “he saw and he believed”. The reality that today’s gospel makes quite clear is that faith is not the result of compelling dramatic evidence, but of insight – a recognition that the believer makes based on a history of experience, where a simple sign can bring about enlightenment. Similarly, in the continuation of the present gospel passage, Mary of Magdala does not understand even when she sees Jesus himself, until he utters her name and, at once, all is clear. Many believers would tell similar – though less obvious stories – about simple moments of revelation, when things fitted into place and faith became the only option. Even when contemplating something definitively revelatory as the Resurrection of the Lord, it is in the small things that Christ is revealed. Many of those attending Mass this Easter day can be invited to recognize the small, but decisive, moments of their own insight, and for many that invitation, if accepted, can confirm the reality of faith, even when cloaked inhabit.

Ask Yourself…

  • Have there been small things in your life that have had a big impact on your own faith?
  • Being known by name is important. Jesus knows Mary of Magdala and calls her by her name: do you ever hear the Lord call you by your name?

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