In 1990 Pope St John Paul II appointed Father Tom Forrest as the co-ordinator for the decade of evangelisation. Tom was an American from New York who was a larger-than-life character. He had one passion in life and that was Jesus. He loved Jesus. He wanted the world to know that the Lord was alive and so he spent his time and his energy helping people find that truth.
That passion for Jesus is what comes through in the writing of John. He wants the world to know that Jesus is alive and so through his Gospel he constantly reminds people that they have choices to make, choices between light and darkness, good and evil, belief and unbelief. In the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, there are lots of choices given. We can be like Mary of Magdala, Peter or the other disciple.
Mary of Magdala is presented as someone who is confused and frustrated. She thought she knew where life was leading her and suddenly it was all taken away and she couldn’t see beyond her own pain and her own need. She runs to the Disciples and her pain just overflows as she says, ‘They’ve taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they’ve put him.’ How many of us are unable to see beyond our own pain and confusion, caught up with our own worries?
Peter sets out to run to the tomb. He goes in wanting evidence. He checks all the things that he knows he can guarantee, the linen cloths and the cloth over his face. How many of us trust in the evidence around us, but are not open enough to see beyond? Then we have John. He was with Peter but what he saw had a very different effect. The empty tomb helped him to see and to know that Jesus was alive. The person of faith can always see beyond. The person of faith will always believe there’s more. The person of faith will always look for newness and possibility.
These are the choices that John gives us as he ponders the resurrection. Are you going to be weighed down with the cares of your life? Are you going to put your trust in the material or are you going to be like John who saw and believed? Are you going to see – in the touch of another person, or in the listening ear or in the calming of our fears when they rage within – the truth that Jesus is alive? Are you going to see the hope, when everything seems to be collapsing around us, that the Lord is with us? When we seem to find strength where there is none, or where there is inexplicable peace in the midst of chaos, will you believe that the risen Jesus is there? The person of faith will always recognise the risen Lord, so choose who you want to be.