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Love Lends Us Wings
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: Dear Lord, I want to take this time to open my mind and my heart to whatever it is you want to say to me today. I know and believe you are present to me. You are the living God. Like St. John, may my life be one of constantly seeking to know you, finding you, and following you.
- They All Ran: Knowing, truly knowing Jesus brought an eagerness to the disciples’ hearts that pushed them to physical exertion trying to discover what had become of his body. Mary ran in her excitement and bewilderment to share that Jesus’ body was missing from the tomb. At the news, John and Peter ran with great anticipation, despite the danger of being arrested. Jesus wants us to run to him with eager hearts as did the disciples. When we truly seek him and his truth we always discover more than we initially imagined. How many times in life has Christ beckoned us, “come to me”? How God’s love has changed us! In this holy season of Christmas, how might we run to the Lord with greater enthusiasm? Let us ask the Lord to increase our longing to discover him in all the ways he shows up in our lives.
- John’s Reverence: John bent and saw the burial cloths but did not enter. He would not enter the tomb first because he deferred to Peter, knowing that the Lord had given Peter a leadership position at the service of the Church. John knew Peter well, both his strengths and his weaknesses. John knew of Peter’s denial during Christ’s Passion. Many times, the Lord places someone in leadership over us who is not perfect. Trusting in God’s ways, we are sometimes called to defer (provided that doing so would not be sinful). Because we are all incorporated into the Mystical Body, the Church, and called to live our own unique vocation within it, we build up the body of Christ when we put aside our own judgment and humbly acquiesce to someone else’s leadership for the glory of God.
- He Saw and Believed: Although the Resurrection was foretold by Christ, John did not know exactly what would happen. This “disciple whom Jesus loved,” the one who laid his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper, and who accompanied Jesus closely throughout his Passion, was able in an instant to view the evidence present in the empty tomb and believe that his Lord had risen. What thoughts might have crossed John’s mind and heart as he stood there holding burial cloths? Was he recalling the raising of Lazarus from the dead? Jesus’ proclamation, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6)? Moments from the Last Supper when Jesus instituted the Eucharist and Holy Orders? Jesus’ last words from the cross, “It is finished”? In an instant, the fragments from the life of Christ that John witnessed fell into place painting an undeniable portrait of a God who loves us beyond telling. John would spend his last years striving to share with all of us just how much God cares for each of us with an infinite, personal, and unrepeatable love.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Lord, just as John was a beloved disciple, so I am also called to run to you with eager expectation and discover just how much you love me. In this season of Christmas, as I contemplate you in the manger where your body is wrapped not in burial cloths but swaddling clothes, I ask for the gift of seeing and believing.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pause before you wrapped in swaddling clothes, thanking you for living, dying, and rising for love of me.
For Further Reflection: Say the Nicene Creed slowly and deliberately.
Heidi Seubert was a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi until her death in December 2021. She most recently served in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was devoted to accompanying young adults in school and parish settings, and leading retreats, youth work, and pilgrimages.