See and Believe
“Seeing,” “hearing,” “knowing,” and “believing” are all key concepts in John’s Gospel. Near the end of his Gospel, John the Evangelist tells us, “Jesus did many other signs that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”
In John’s Easter Sunday Gospel, Mary of Magdala comes to Simon Peter and to “the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” (very often identified as John himself), and tells them that the body of Jesus has been taken away from the tomb, and that she has no idea where it is. Peter and John then run to the tomb. John, yielding to Peter’s authority as the leader of the disciples in the Lord’s absence, bends down to look into the tomb, seeing only the burial cloths there, but doesn’t go in. When Peter arrives, he goes in, and finds the tomb empty, except for the burial shroud; but what seems most to impress Peter is that the cloth that had covered the head of Jesus was not on the ground, scattered or torn, but “rolled up in a separate place.”
Where that cloth was placed and how it was neatly rolled up seems to convince Peter that the body of Jesus was not stolen or moved, but that something else happened. And then, we are told, when the other disciple finally followed Peter into the tomb, he “saw and believed.” What will it take for us to believe? What will remove our every doubt? What experience of the power of the Risen Lord does God want us to have this Easter? May our prayer today be that we, too, will come to “see and believe.”
—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, SJ, serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu in University Heights, OH.
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