He ran to the tomb on the day of the Resurrection. Peter ran with him, but John (no doubt much younger) ran faster. He waited for Peter to arrive before entering the empty tomb. Perhaps he was afraid to go in alone, but maybe he waited for his friend out of love for him. When I’m running, John is often running beside me, especially on those days when my legs are begging for me to stop. There have been times when he’s taken my hand and led me, sometimes running backwards and smiling at me, saying, “You can make it!” I’m usually praying the Rosary, and he’s with me in almost every mystery (including the Joyful Mysteries, even though those events likely took place before John was born. I’m running with Mary and Joseph and Elizabeth and the shepherds who ran to the stable to see the infant Jesus. But John is there.) When Jesus is carrying His cross through Jerusalem, John and Mary are right with him–and me. They’re beside Jesus when He is nailed to the Cross, and stay with Him until the end. When the risen Jesus takes His disciples to the mountain just before he ascends into Heaven, John is running with me, urging me to hurry lest we miss it. And he’s with Mary at the end of her life, when Jesus takes her into Heaven.
Sometimes I imagine that there is a whole host of saints accompanying me on my runs. Our lady is always with me. The disciples of Jesus come with me, as well as St. Francis and St. Therese and John Paul II. Perhaps next time I’m running with the Glorious Mysteries, I’ll run with St. Peter and together we’ll try to catch John–ha! Sometimes St. Paul is there, encouraging me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus while running with perseverance the race that lies before me. (That’s from Hebrews. I don’t think anyone knows for sure who wrote those words–perhaps it was Paul, perhaps it was someone else. But Paul encourages me anyway.) St. Pio, the patron saint of Life Runners, comes with me, too.
Today is the Feast Day of John. I am not planning to run today, but my running buddy will definitely be with me while I’m puttering around the house, running errands, and whatnot.
Merry Christmas! (Yes it is still Christmas. But you already knew that.)