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Time Is Short
Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist
John 20:1A and 2-8
On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, we have just celebrated your birth and here we are in the empty tomb! Your time, like ours on earth, was so brief! G. K. Chesterton said you moved like a lightning bolt through your life. May I too have a similar impact, no matter the length or brevity of my time here on earth. Let me make the most of the time you have given to me to share the good news with everyone.
- First Day: This very “first day of the week” was unlike any other. Sunday is considered day one of a seven-day week, the first day of the seven days of creation. But because Christ was born, died, and rose again, putting an end to death, re-creating the world, and making all things new, the ancient Christians called this new first day of creation the EIGHTH day. Now Sunday is not just the “first day of the week,” but the holiest of all days. Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) states: “Sunday looks not only backwards but forward. Looking toward the Resurrection means looking toward the final consummation. With the Day of the Resurrection coming after the Sabbath, Christ, as it were, strode across time and lifted it up above itself. The (Church) Fathers connected with this the idea that the history of the world as a whole can be seen as one great week of seven days corresponding to the ages of a man’s life. The eighth day, therefore, signifies the new time that has dawned with the Resurrection…In the liturgy we already reach out to lay hold of it. But at the same time it is ahead of us…” Such a short time we have on this earth, but now, thanks be to God, as believers we celebrate eight days a week! Let us use our time well! “Night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
- Outrun: Did John hesitate outside the tomb because of fear? Sorrow? Or could it have been out of reverence for Peter? How do we handle situations when we know we can outrun, outdo, outpreach, out____ a brother or sister in Christ? Does it mean we are always supposed to? Perhaps the one whom “Jesus loved” knew how to act because he had so often heard the Savior’s heart beating while laying his head upon his chest. Let’s ask for humility today so that we can revere one another in imitation of John.
- A Closer Look: We read that Peter saw “the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.” Why should this matter? There are many theories, one being that the Greek word ὀθονίων-(othoniōn) used for “handkerchief” (or “cloth that covered his head”) also means “napkin.” In the first century, if your napkin was rolled up–not simply tossed onto the table–it signified you were not finished, that you would return to finish your meal. Was this a signal to the Apostles that Jesus intended to return? That what has happened here was purposeful? Was Jesus saying, “Don’t lose hope! Work with Me!”? John grasped the Lord’s meaning and went in, and “saw and believed.” And the rest is history. May we too see, believe–and change history!
Conversing with Christ: Oh Jesus, make me mindful always that you are worthy of my praise. Help me to treat others with the same self-sacrificial love that you have shown me. Give me a heart to work while I can–while I have breath to speak of your amazing love–knowing full well you will come again. Glory, Hallelujah!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take time to ponder where in my life and ministry I need to “run” and where I need to “pause” in order to build up your Kingdom in a way that most pleases you. Help me to be mindful that you will come again, and possibly soon!
Melissa Overmyer is a convert to Catholicism; founder of the Georgetown Women’s Bible Study and Something Greater Ministries; and author of Born to Soar, Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life, a weekly blog at www.somethinggreater.net, and daily posts on IGTV (melissaovermyer). She is working on her master’s degree in Theology at Augustine Institute.