Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why Do We Need to Know Peter and John Ran Together?

What did John believe? Did he believe that Jesus had risen, or did he believe what Mary had said: that Jesus' body was gone and they had no idea as to what had occurred?

Now, John is writing his gospel some years after the resurrection. St. John seems to be saying in hindsight that, although the evidence was clear that our Lord had risen, they nevertheless did not believe it "for as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead." If John had believed Jesus had risen, he would have attempted to convince the others of the resurrection. Also, his actions following this event also lends credence to the fact he as of yet did not believe Christ had risen. All of them were fearful, not excited, when Jesus appeared to them. They also did not go to Galilee to meet Jesus, as they were commanded to do. St. Augustine astutely concludes: "If he did not yet know that He must rise again from the dead, he could not believe that He had risen; they had heard as much indeed from our Lord, and very openly, but they were so accustomed to hear parables from Him, that they took this for a parable, and thought He meant something else."

So why did St. John feel it important that his readers know these details? St. Gregory says, "This account of the Evangelist must not be thought to be without some mystical meaning." It appears, on its face, that he is right. For what purpose is it that we should know he and Peter ran together, he arrived first but did not go in, that Peter ran inside, and then he followed, if it was not for some mystical meaning?
St. Gregory says, by John, the younger of the two, the synagogue is meant; by Peter, the elder, the Gentile Church is represented: "for though the synagogue was before the Gentile Church as regards the worship of God, as regards time the Gentile world was before the synagogue. They ran together, because the Gentile world ran side by side with the synagogue from first to last, in respect of purity and community of life, though a purity and community of understanding they had not. The synagogue came first to the sepulcher, but entered not: it knew the commandments of the law, and had heard the prophecies of our Lord’s incarnation and death, but would not believe in Him who died. Then comes Simon Peter, and entered into the sepulcher: the Gentile Church both knew Jesus Christ as dead man, and believed in Him as living God.

The napkin about our Lord’s head is not found with the linen clothes, i.e. God, the Head of Christ, and the incomprehensible mysteries of the Godhead are removed from our poor knowledge; His power transcends the nature of the creature. And it is found not only apart, but also wrapped together; because of the linen wrapped together, neither beginning nor end is seen; and the height of the Divine nature had neither beginning nor end. And it is into one place: for where there is division, God is not; and they merit His grace, who do not occasion scandal by dividing themselves into sects. But as a napkin is what is used in laboring to wipe the sweat of the brow, by the napkin here we may understand the labor of God: which napkin is found apart, because the suffering of our Redeemer is far removed from ours; inasmuch as He suffered innocently, that which we suffer justly; He submitted Himself to death voluntarily, we by necessity. But after Peter entered, John entered too; for at the end of the world even Judea shall be gathered in to the true faith."

Albeit this is one of the rudiments of our faith, does this passage really impact us? I mean, we already believe in the Resurrection; otherwise, we would not go to Mass, correct? So, is this reading just something we already know; therefore, it really "goes in one ear and out the other"? Maybe not.

Did you know that the name "Mary" means "a tear, rebellion"? The word "Magdala" means "elegance, a tower." All of those can be accurately applied to the Catholic Church, to Catholics--to you and me. I like reading a version of the Bible that utilizes Old English, with the usage of "thee," "thou," "ye," etc. I like this version because it gives me a better understanding. For example, "ye" is second person singular, meaning I must put my name in its place. If it says "you," that is second person plural, meaning a group. In the first verse of our gospel passage, we have the word "cometh," not "went" or "came." "Cometh" means a continuous coming; therefore, it is occurring today.

The first day of the week is a new beginning. It is yet dark; we see darkly. Although we should see clearly, taking Christ into us body, blood, soul, and divinity, we do not. Since "Mary" is feminine, this denotes the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. While we are still in our "darkness," we run to the leaders of the Church, to the teachings of the Church. St. John did not say that she runs and comes to Peter, but to "Simon" Peter. "Simon" means "that hears, that obeys." Although we may not understand clearly, although we may initially disagree, we run to the Catholic Church and its doctrines and dogmas, and we try to walk in obedience. We no longer do "what is right in our eyes;" we have now awakened unto a new day, having put on Christ.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Because we are baptized into Christ and because of the Eucharist: "We are witnesses to all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest; not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him (in the Eucharist) after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." "O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever! Let Israel say, 'His steadfast love endures for ever. the right hand of the LORD is exalted, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!' I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."

Let us live, knowing He lives in us, not as if we do not know, just wishing He lives in us. We are BAPTIZED! He LIVES in us by virtue of the EUCHARIST! Let us BE what we ARE: the BODY OF CHRIST! When the world sees and hear us, may they KNOW who they see and hear: CHRIST!
--Tommy Turner