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. (John 20:6-10)
Imagine the astonishment, joy and perhaps even fear of Peter and the other disciple when they entered and saw the empty tomb. What did they think when they first entered the tomb? Did they really understand what had taken place? The Scripture advises that Peter noticed that the burial clothes and the head cloth were in different locations inside the tomb. Did they think that Jesus had arisen and started to remove the burial clothing as He walked out of the tomb? The other disciple also finally went inside the tomb and the Scripture tells us that he saw and believed. And further we are told that neither of them understood that Jesus had to rise from the dead.
It was truly a dilemma for them just as I feel certain that it would be for most today. If we had been able to walk into that tomb, what would have been our thoughts? Would we have looked at the evidence inside the tomb and believed that Jesus had simply walked out? Would we have heard and believed Jesus’ proclamations that foretold His passion, death and resurrection? How is it possible to believe and not understand?
Yet, that is exactly what we are called to do and that is where our faith comes into being. Along with our faith, we must also believe in the mystery that comes with accepting even things that are difficult to understand. As Catholics, we are people of the Resurrection, Easter people. The Adult Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Above all it is in the Paschal Mystery, which is the saving Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, that we participate most profoundly in the mystery of Christ. Here is the heart of the Kingdom and salvation to which we are called. In Christ, we die to self and sin. We rise to participate in His divine life through the Resurrection. This is made possible for us through the Sacraments.”