On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.
20:1 the first day: Sunday, the first day of the Jewish week. Mary Magdalene: A devoted disciple of Christ, who was delivered of demonic possession (Lk 8:2) and whose love for Jesus carried her all the way to the Cross (19:25; CCC 641).
20:2 out of the tomb: The empty tomb is the indisputable fact of Easter morning, as testified to even by the Roman soldiers who guarded the site (Mt 28:11–15). The disappearance of Jesus is the first indication that he has risen as he said (Mt 20:17–19). This is confirmed by several appearances throughout the next 40 days (Jn 20:19–21:1; Acts 1:3; CCC 640). we do not know: Presumes that Mary has come to the tomb with other women, as in Mt 28:1, Mk 16:1, and Lk 23:55–24:1.
20:4 the other disciple: John, the evangelist himself. Luke makes similar mention of certain disciples, including Peter, running to the tomb on Easter morning (Lk 24:12, 24). See introduction: Author. reached the tomb first: John defers to Peter by letting him enter the tomb first (20:6). This is more than a polite gesture, as it reflects his deference to the preeminent honor and authority that Jesus has bestowed on Simon (Mt 16:16–19). ● Allegorically (John Scotus Erigena, Hom. in Prol. Jn.): the tomb is the Sacred Scriptures. Peter is faith, which is the first thing we bring to its pages, and John is understanding, which afterward enters and penetrates their meaning more deeply. Morally, Peter and John represent the active and contemplative missions of the Church, so that even when contemplatives are the first to arrive at a deeper understanding of the faith, deference is given to the hierarchical leadership, who later defines and promulgates their authentic insights.
20:7 the napkin … the linen cloths: Corroborating evidence of the Resurrection. No thief would have taken the time to unwrap Jesus’ corpse and fold his burial clothes neatly in the tomb. In any case, the grave robbers of antiquity usually stole the expensive linens and left the body behind, not the other way around.
Friends, our Easter Gospel contains St. John’s magnificent account of the resurrection. It was, says John, early in the morning on the first day of the week. It was still dark—just the way it was at the beginning of time before God said, “Let there be light.” But a light was about to shine, and a new creation was about to appear.
The stone had been rolled away. That stone, blocking entrance to the tomb of Jesus, stands for the finality of death. When someone that we love dies, it is as though a great stone is rolled across them, permanently blocking our access to them. And this is why we weep at death—not just in grief but in a kind of existential frustration.
But for Jesus, the stone had been rolled away. Undoubtedly, the first disciples must have thought a grave robber had been at work. But the wonderful Johannine irony is that the greatest of grave robbers had indeed been at work. The prophet Ezekiel says this, “I will open your graves and have you rise from them.”
What was dreamed about, what endured as a hope against hope, has become a reality. God has opened the grave of his Son, and the bonds of death have been shattered forever.
– Bishop Robert Barron
May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.