Like St. John, see and believe - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Like St. John, see and believe

“And he saw and believed.”

These four words, from the Gospel of St. John, will be proclaimed on Easter Sunday in all of our churches a few short weeks from now.

They are powerful words indeed, for they speak volumes about this defining moment for the young disciple — and our faith — as John stared at the hewn rock where the wracked body of Jesus was supposed to be.

On that first Easter morning, John saw much more than an empty tomb or the miraculous triumph over death by his beloved teacher — as stunning and delightful as that was. What John saw was not just the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection, but also what it truly meant: the full flowering of the Lord’s promise for him and for all of humanity.

I like to think that, instead of dark and damp, John saw sunlight, a symbol of God’s burning love for us all, pouring into the tomb and brightening every crevice. In this light, John saw that the children of God had been delivered from evil, from death itself, that each and every one of us had been given the gift of invincibility, of hope, of eternal life.

And he did not just see it, he believed it. His utter despair at the horrible death of Jesus, in a flash, had disappeared.

As we experience this Lent and approach Easter, may I suggest it might be a good practice to imagine ourselves at that empty tomb, like John, and ponder what it means to us as we peer inside?

What do we see?

What do we believe?

Do we see God’s love in our own lives, working little and big miracles every day, guiding us in sometimes subtle and sometimes quite obvious ways?

Do we feel God’s presence?

In the darker days that surely come, do we believe in faith’s power to roll away the stones that seal us away from true happiness and Christian joy — all those difficult feelings and experiences that can paralyze us? Do we let these feelings entrap and entomb us in fear and trepidation? Do we trust that God’s plan for us is complete joy?

Perhaps we are at some confusing, even frightening, crossroad in our lives; do we let God lead, and do we follow? Are we of such faith that we can give ourselves completely to God, as our Lord did on the Cross, and pray, “into your hands I commend my spirit?”

It is not always easy to maintain our faith and hope, is it? We are only human. Perhaps illness has overcome us, or grief at the loss of a loved one. Perhaps someone we know and love very much is in danger. Thank God, then, for our faith. Can we, even in those times, lean on the magnificent promise of the Empty Tomb for solace, courage and hope? I pray that all of us can and will.

You see, to peer into the empty tomb of Jesus Christ on that Easter morning is to peer into a mirror of our own lives, a window to the glorious days of eternity with the Lord and all whom we have held dear.

On this Easter, like St. John, see and believe: The Easter miracle was, and is, for you.

See and believe: Jesus rose for you.

See and believe! God’s promise is for you.

See and believe: Jesus lives!

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