When was the last time you ran, but not for exercise? As adults we don’t really just randomly run usually. Maybe we go for a run or we run as part of a social sports team we are on, but rarely if ever do we just run. My four year-old runs randomly all the time, but that is a different story.
Last summer I was on a hike up North with my 4 year-old son (he was 3 then). He didn’t want to walk any more and I didn’t want to carry him anymore. He was trailing about 20 feet behind me while I was walking backward and urging him along. Suddenly he pointed and shouted, “Dad, a bear!” Yeah right.
I walked back and held his hand and we walked to the to top of the ridge. When we got there, we looked down a crossing trail when about 50 feet away a large, black bear started crashing through the trees away from us. I picked up my son and slowly backed away down the trail away from the bear. When I was confident that the bear was far enough away that we weren’t in danger of looking like prey, I just started running while holding my son. Nothing like a 3/4 of a mile run with 30 lbs. of kid on my hip, a back pack, and hiking books. My point is, outside of exercise modern adults just don’t run very often.
Thinking more about it, the only times I ever run, as an adult, is when I am chasing or being chased by my kids (and the one bear time). The only times I run (when not exercising) is when I am either pursuing or being pursued by someone I love.
In the gospel this Sunday we read about Mary of Magdala, Peter, and the Beloved Disciple finding the empty tomb. When Mary found the empty tomb early in the morning before the sun rose, she ran to tell Peter. Then Peter and the Beloved Disciple ran to see for themselves. This act of running for the ancient Jew is undignified. Adult men, in particular, didn’t run in ancient Israel.
I think Mary, Peter, and John all run for the same reason we might run – for love. The loved Jesus and he loved them. In fact, Jesus is love incarnate. So when they find out his body is missing, they run to find him.
The question for each of us – would we run to find Jesus? Do you run to Church? Do you run to prayer? Do you run to Mass or Confession? When you are far away from Jesus, do you run back to him?
Obviously I am using the word “run” metaphorically. Are we eager to engage with our faith or is it is another thing in our day we “should” do.
Sometimes love is doing things we don’t want to do when we don’t want to do them. But love is alway desiring greatly to be close to the object of our love. If we don’t really desire to be near to Jesus do we really love him?
We all have areas of our life that need conversion. We all have ways we don’t love Jesus well. If you are aware of times that you aren’t running to Jesus, maybe this Easter is the moment to ask Jesus to bring about significant change in your heart. Maybe this Easter is the moment when your desire for Jesus outruns your sin. Run to Jesus and ask for the desire to run.
Live it: Go for a .75 mile run on Easter morning. This is the distance between the upper room and Calvary. Remember the run that Mary, Peter, and John made 2000 years ago. Can’t run? Move with haste to your morning prayer Easter morning.