Feast of Saint John, apostle and evangelist
(I John 1:1-4; John 20:1a.2-8)
Some may be taken aback by the appearance of a resurrection account so near to Christmas. But the resurrection is as much part of Christ’s story as his death forecasted yesterday on the Feast of St. Stephen. It could be said “even more so” for Jesus was not born to die like other humans. Rather from all eternity he was to rise from the dead as the Son of God.
Of course, it is the Beloved Disciple who takes center stage in today’s passage. More than likely he did not actually write the Gospel according to John. But he evidently provided many of the traditions on which it is based. The reading testifies to how he believes without seeing the risen Christ. In this he differs from the other disciples. Later in the gospel Jesus will say to Thomas, “You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The Beloved Disciple is the first person to believe in Christ’s resurrection without seeing him risen.
We follow the Beloved Disciple in due course. Christmas could not ultimately be joyous with our belief in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. It accomplished the victory over sin for which Christ was born. Because of it we live in true freedom. More wonderfully, Jesus’ resurrection has assured us of eternal life when we follow him.