Feast of St. John the Beloved and the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (The Empty Tomb and the Treasure Chamber)
The Treasure Chamber Scene
A Leader and a Co-Leader
As I read today's Gospel passage, I remembered the last time the same Gospel passage had been used: Easter Sunday. This led me back to what formed in my mind as I reflected on the the fact that St. John ran faster than St. Peter, arrived at the tomb first, and saw the burial cloths, but did not go in until after the latter went in.
I am amazed by the humility of John not because he made sure that such events would be written in the Gospel attributed to him, but because he knew his place. He knew that he is the Beloved Disciple. He knew that he ran faster than the Prince of the Apostles. He knew that he is, along with Peter, one of Jesus' first four followers, yet he used neither these nor his mere excitement to go into the rich man's tomb at once. Instead, he waited for Peter and let the latter enter the tomb first.
This was what I had in mind. Nevertheless, as I grabbed my pen to write my reflection on my Companion (published by Shepherd's Voice), I suddenly remembered the treasure chamber scene in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and this led me to a deeper analysis of what had happened between Jesus' death and His resurrection, a topic that is ironically brought up at a time when we are commemorating the birth of the Savior.
The PC Scene
In the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Peter Pevensie was not acting like the High King that he is. He picked fights, had been a terrible and unappreciative brother, and was a bully. Nevertheless, his brother Edmund Pevensie, reformed as he has been, continued to watch his brother's back.
What made me connect the Gospel passage with the movie is the scene when they went down the treasure chamber of Cair Paravel. Probably because he had the torch, Edmund was the first to go down the treasure chamber of Cair Paravel. As they neared the chamber, we see Edmund running down the stairs, probably because of excitement. Yet, as he reached the gate, he stopped. He waited for Peter to open the gate and get in before he got in.
Clearly, he respected Peter's supremacy as High King even if Peter had been arrogant and hard to deal with. He did not even use his speed and his excitement to open the gate and get in.
The Gospel Scene
In the Gospel, we know that prior to the scene described by today's Gospel passage, St. Peter had not acted as good a leader as he should have had. In the garden of Gethsemane, he cut off a man's ear, only to deny knowing Jesus three times afterwards. The apostles had gone hiding, and it was only St. John who stood with Jesus at the foot of the cross. Definitely, the apostle John had acted way better than Peter had.
Still, this along with his speed and his excitement did not constitute reason enough to enter the tomb first. He humbly and patiently waited for Peter to enter the tomb first before he did. No wonder he is called THE beloved disciple. He knows his place, and after his mother had requested Jesus to grant that John and his brother be seated one on Jesus' right and the other on Jesus' left, John had grown to understand and believe the good news Jesus had brought to the world. He stood by Jesus at the bottom of the cross, and he stayed with St. Peter during the dark times between Jesus' death and Jesus' resurrection.
Perhaps the challenge the Gospel passage of today gives us is for us to know our place and be contented with what we have and with where we are if that is what God wants us to be. We should not use another's faults and shortcomings to disrespect him/her. Yes, we may disapprove of the action, but we should not disapprove of the person.
May St. John's example inspire us to do the same throughout 2011.
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