Soul Food for Sundays

Soul Food for Easter Sunday, 31st March 2024

Reflections 31st March 2024
John 20:1-9

The Author: Peter Conaty C.S.Sp.
calendar_today Date: March 23, 2024 - 3 minutes read

Alleluia, Alleluia, The Lord is Risen…

The news for some time now has been bleak; wars and more wars, destruction and devastation, accidents, deaths, climate disaster, political turmoil and more.  We hear statistics and numbers.  They are beyond awful. Behind the numbers there are people, families, women and children, faces, lives and names, tragedy and loss and, of course, personal stories. Amidst it all, it can be a challenge to see that we matter. It can be a challenge to find hope.

And what about the names, difficult for many of us and in some cases so different to our own?  But names are important. We are all known by name.

Of three people – Peter, Mary Magdalene and the Beloved Disciple – mentioned in today’s Gospel, two have names and we think that we know the third one. We imagine it is John the Apostle because that is what the tradition says. However, the evangelist chose not to identify this person, chose not to give him (or her!) a name.  That can’t have been an accident.  I suspect that the evangelist was possibly trying to tell us something here about who we all are, that we all are beloved disciples and that this is our reason to hope.

The characters in today’s story all “see” something. Mary saw that the stone had been rolled away. On hearing this news, Peter and the beloved disciple ran to the tomb.  Arriving first, the beloved disciple did not enter the tomb but he saw the linen cloths. Arriving soon after, Peter went into the tomb and he too saw the cloths. (The politics of the early Church are at play here)

Then comes the turning point – the beloved disciple entered the tomb and “he saw, and he believed.”  

What did he see? This is a different seeing, not with the eyes in his head but with the heart, and with the heart he comes to grasp the meaning of Easter and it is simply this: Our God is trustworthy. God did not abandon Jesus. The beloved disciple finally understands that everything Jesus said and did was bringing him to this moment when he could trust himself wholly and completely to God.  

On Easter morning we are invited to become the beloved disciple, to recognize ourselves as the beloved disciple. Like the beloved, we learn to stand at the foot of the cross, but we must also learn to stand in the empty tomb so that we too can see and believe!  This is the journey of faith, of coming to see that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. It is not a one-off moment – it happens to us again and again! 

So, on this day of days, no matter where we are, or no matter how we are feeling:

  • We can trust in God.
  • We can know: We are Beloved.  We matter.

Image by dozemode from Pixabay

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Peter Conaty C.S.Sp.

Ordained in 1983, Peter is a member of the Spiritan leadership team and leader in Ardbraccan, the home of the An Tobar Spiritan Retreat & Spirituality Centre. His overseas missionary experience includes Kenya, the Gambia, the USA and Mexico.