Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle B

Easter Sunday

the empty-tomb.jpg

 John 20.1-9

"he saw, and he believed"

Mary of Magdala had discovered that the tomb was empty. Not knowing what had happened to the body of Jesus, she ran to tell Peter and 'the other disciple', undoubtedly John the evangelist. They ran to see for themselves what had happened, and when John went into the empty tomb "he saw and he believed". St. John continues: “Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead”, but now the eyes of their minds and hearts were opened – they saw and believed.

All they found was the empty tomb. Yet the truth they believed was not just that the tomb was empty - but that Jesus was alive, risen from the dead. And that was the message, the good news, proclaimed by Peter in today's first reading. "God raised him to life" and God "allowed him to be seen". Peter and his companions were the chosen witnesses to the resurrection of Christ, commanded to make known to others "that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name".

Many in the crowd addressed by Peter, just as the crowds listening today, might have remained unconvinced, more than sceptical, quite dismissive. Such things simply do not happen, the body must have been hidden or stolen, or the whole thing was a hoax. Yet to those of us who have come to believe, along with the apostles, the resurrection of Jesus has become the source of new life. As Paul says in the second reading we "have been brought back to true life with Christ". Therein is the really God News: the resurrection is for us too. Jesus has been raised in our flesh and blood. It is our death that has been defeated.