Today’s Gospel reading–by the Apostle whose Feast we celebrate today, John–explains how His followers discovered that the Lord had risen [indeed]:
Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag’dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away 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.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths 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.
Here are some highlights of St John’s resume:
- Described by Jesus, along with his brother James, as “the sons of thunder” and “the disciple whom Jesus loved”
- Wrote one Gospel, three Epistles and the Apocalypse
And yet, John “saw and believed.” Not saw and confirmed what he had long suspected, etc. The last sentence is striking partly due to its brevity. In today’s Magnificat, Pope Benedict gives us perspective:
One doesn’t begin to be a Christian because of an ethical decision or a great idea, but rather because of an encounter with an event, with a Person, who gives new horizons to life, and with that, a decisive orientation.
The point is that John’s thoughts [even John!] on resurrection, don’t even warrant a mention when describing His Resurrection. There are many ways to communicate the ‘it’s not about you’ aspect of Christianity. John shows us one way, by way of omission.
Imagine the last sentence in that Gospel reading according to a Secular Humanist:
… I saw and it confirmed my long-held beliefs, stated mostly in private, about how I saw this playing out. I repeat my premonitions not to elevate myself and those like me who have also borne many of the scars for our cause, but to show that perhaps the truth does not belong to any one of us. I say this not to cause dissension, since I can personally attest to His greatness, but to begin a much needed dialogue. While lacking explicit authority, aside from having been present during much of the ministry, I believe the following to my core; perhaps His special genius was in getting all of us to trust our own inner-voices….