Most of the Gospels during Easter time are taken from St. John, a literary genius if the world has ever known one. Father John Shea has suggested that John's Gospel may be the greatest book ever written. Its author has an astonishing ability to take a perhaps dim memory of an incident which happened in the life of Jesus, retell it with vivid and life-like detail, and then wrap the story in deep and mystical symbolism which makes it a story for all times.
Thus in today's story we can see the younger disciple outrunning Peter and then waiting respectfully for him. We can understand the chauvinist skepticism of the apostles, we can imagine the growing excitement among the followers of Jesus, their sense that something was happening, something astonishing, indeed beyond belief. And we are impressed, though we hardly notice it consciously by the act that the burial robes of Jesus have been put aside and neatly folded. Not only do we have life triumphant, we have the extraordinary occurring in orderly fashion.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time there was a little boy by the name of Brendan. Brendan loved all kinds of stories but he especially liked the childrens versions of Biblical stories. He would tell visitors about the deeds of the Old Testament leaders, sometimes mixing up his facts a bit. He was fairly accurate when telling the story of Christmas and the childhood of Jesus. His favorite stories were the miracle stories and some of the parables. He definitely did not like the Holy Week stories. He didnt like it when anyone would read the stories of Jesus passion and death. He would never repeat them, claiming he didnt remember them.
One day his mother asked Brendan why he didnt try to remember them. Brendan said it was very sad that people would put Jesus on a cross when he had been so good. He said he didnt like the cross, that it was a terrible thing. He didnt like to think about the cross. He didnt even like to look at it. And he would never want to have one in his room or his house. His mother thought and thought about how she might address Brendans anxiety about the cross. Finally she explained to Brendan that sometimes things seemed really, really bad, like that people would put Jesus on a cross. But the cross is also a sign of how much Jesus loved all of us and the cross isnt the end of the story. If it were it would be a great tragedy. That is why we never tell the story of the cross without also telling the story of Easter where we learn that goodness wins over all the evil things people might do. We need the end of the story for it to make any sense. That Easter Brendans mother found him telling his younger siblings and his cousins his version of the Holy Week/Easter tale. Palm Sunday, he said was a big parade.
Then later in the week Jesus and his disciples had a big party but some of the folks at the party didnt act right and let some bad outsiders take Jesus away. Jesus was real brave because he loved everyone and knew that if you loved people you could never really be hurt, except for a short time. And Jesus proved that was so by not staying dead for very long. Now we know that we dont have to be afraid of bad things.
Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17,22-23
1 O give thanks to the LORD,
for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!
Catholics and the Struggle with Their Church
The survey of the archdiocese, which Father Greeley describes as "a very complicated place" demographically, asks some difficult questions, and finds some interesting truths.
In Memory of Father Andrew M. Greeley
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