Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist 2019


“John bent down at the tomb”  Painting: Ronald Raab, CSC

Gospel Jn 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.

Dear John,

I have read your story hundreds of times.

Early this morning, I read it and your encounter

With Jesus began to enter me.


You laid your head upon his breast at dinner.

You stood at the foot of the cross with his mother.

You listened to Mary Magdalene.

You ran to find out for yourself.

You hesitated to enter the dark tomb.


You did not halt because you were afraid to see him dead.

You stood still because you believed the empty space would heal every place in you. 

You did not peer in because you genuinely understood his intimacy.

You stopped because you knew you would be loved into someone new.


You put your hand on the rock that had been rolled away.

Your watery eyes could not take in the moment in early daylight.

Your heartbeat quickened.

Your breathing shortened with delight and anticipation.


Then your heart led you in.

Then your eyes focused on emptiness.

Then your longing was fulfilled.

In the emptiness of the space, you understood he would never leave you.

In the empty tomb, genuine love was born and it was too much to grasp. 


(My letter to John today before dawn. Based on today’s gospel.)

2 thoughts on “Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist 2019

  1. Sometimes when I visit the empty tomb and grasp what He gives me I understand that I only am able to receive a small amount. I know there is more but I am only able to take a small amount away at a time. More would be to much. I await for the next encounter.

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