1 John 1:1-4

Something which has existed since the beginning,
that we have heard,
and we have seen with our own eyes;
that we have watched
and touched with our hands:
the Word, who is life -
this is our subject.
That life was made visible:
we saw it and we are giving our testimony,
telling you of the eternal life
which was with the Father and has been made visible to us.
What we have seen and heard we are telling you
so that you too may be in union with us,
as we are in union
with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We are writing this to you to make our own joy complete.

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John 20:2-8

On the first day of the week Mary of Magdala came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,” she said, “and we don’t know where they have put him.”

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed.
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St. John writes in a “funny” way. There are two main ways that are immediately obvious in his gospel. His epistle and gospel both begin in the same way - using “funny” language. He uses simple words to illustrate a difficult idea, and he repeats important words or phrases over and over.

The second way he writes is seen in today’s gospel reading. Simple storytelling. However, inside this simple storytelling is hidden much meaning. The actions of each character in his story do certain things for a certain reason. For example, why does John (the character in the gospel) reach the tomb first but does not go inside?

The answer we can find in the first reading, where John writes about the ordinariness of Jesus’ life. But hidden in that ordinariness was God himself. All of us lead ordinary lives. We might have some adventures now and then, but for the most part, we live largely ordinary lives. Few of us are in the world to give it a complete change. We’re no revolutionary people, either in the way we live our lives or in the way we practise our faith.

But hidden inside the ordinariness of our lives is God himself. God is completely present in our ordinariness, just as he is completely present in the Eucharist. Most of us Catholics receive the Eucharist every Mass. Sure we believe it’s Christ we are receiving and we accord it all the respect it deserves, but at the end of the day, to many of us it’s just a ordinary piece of bread we take and eat. We treasure it for the moment, but once it’s swallowed, we forget about it and go on with our ordinary lives.

Some Catholics accord the Eucharist more than a passing respect. They visit the adoration room or the church every day and spend more than a few minutes inside, gazing at, looking at, contemplating the Blessed Sacrament. These people have not only seen and touched Christ with their hands, they have felt him.

If Christ can be felt in the presence of ordinary bread in the Eucharist, he too can be felt in the presence of ordinary lives in our own. God is no less present in the Eucharist than he is in our lives. As such, every aspect of our lives deserves respect, just as every particle of the Eucharist deserves respect. If we respect the Eucharist completely, but fail to respect our neighbour and his life in the same way, then what we are experiencing is not the love of God. Perhaps a devout piety, but not Christian love.

Today’s reflections call us to see God present firstly in the seemingly ordinary storytelling in the gospels and in the rest of the Bible, and secondly God present in the seemingly ordinary way in which we live our lives. To be able to see and touch God in an extraordinary experience is not enough. We must be able to feel his presence in our ordinary lives and live out those lives in a way that accords God the respect he deserves.

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