“He saw and believed” (Jn20.8). With these simple words, the author of St.
John’s Gospel announced that the disciple whom Jesus loved had come to Easter
faith. Having just outrun Peter in his zeal to investigate Mary Magdalene’s
report of the empty tomb, this special disciple’s deep love for Christ led him
to become the very first of countless disciples to believe that Jesus had
been raised to life.
If Jesus’ death on the cross was His ultimate moment of
glorification in St. John’s Gospel then the Resurrection is the event that
fulfills and explains it. The light of Jesus’ Resurrection shines the glory on
the wood of the cross. The Resurrection
is the Cross’ outcome. It is the moment that gives way to everlasting life; sin
gives way to eternal glory and despair gives way to unbounded hope. If the Cross was God’s supreme manifestation of love for His people,
the Resurrection is the supreme manifestation of that’ love’s power and
The beloved disciple also arrives at the empty tomb, his
love for Jesus opens his eyes to the possibility of Jesus’ resurrection. He looks in and sees that the physical body
of Jesus is no longer present and immediately concludes. that Jesus has been
raised from the dead.
This special disciple had been present with Jesus at many of
the extraordinary and difficult moments of His ministry. Because of his intense love for Jesus, he did
not need proof of His resurrection – he freely chose to believe.
Our own belief in Jesus’ resurrection must not, however, be
relegated to simple awareness of this past event. The historical resurrection
of Jesus we celebrate this Easter Sunday is also a challenge to a living and
lived-out faith in the ongoing presence of the risen Christ.
St. Paul advises us to “celebrate the feast, not with the
old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of
sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor 5.8). In this, the importance of our Lenten
observance comes to the fore. Lent was our privileged opportunity to remake ourselves
into the image of Christ, a chance to set aside whatever is unworthy of our
faith and to begin to live as those who are convinced of Jesus’ abiding
presence. This is the call of our
Easter celebrations – to become so caught up in our love for and faith in Jesus
that we make Him even more visible in our world today.
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