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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

THE EMPTY TOMB 

(JOHN 20:1-9; MATTHEW 28:1-10;  MARK 16:1-8; LUKE 24:1-12)

It is said that three kinds of people viewed the empty tomb: the Pharisees and the soldiers, Mary Magdalene, and Peter and John. The first viewed the empty tomb and saw nothing. . .absolutely nothing. And they rationalized what they saw with a lie: "The disciples stole the body."

Then there was Mary Magdalene who also viewed the empty tomb and apparently, like the Pharisees, thought someone had removed the body. But, unlike the Pharisees, who only had hate for Christ, Mary Magdalene had such a great love for Christ. It was this love that made her come back to minister to the corpse of Christ. Christ always referred to her as a woman who loved much.

Lastly, there were Peter and John. They also viewed the empty tomb and saw everything. Their physical eyes saw the linen and napkin; their spiritual eyes of faith saw the resurrection. The linen was so arranged that it was evident that the physical but now glorified body of Christ went through it as He would later on pass through the closed door.

What is it that Mary and the Apostles had which the Pharisees did not have? Apparently, love. Love made Mary and the Apostles see what others could not see. Love gives the lover a certain wisdom by which he can discern things pertaining to the beloved.

Everyday, we, too, are surrounded by empty tombs, by which God expresses His will to us. But, like the Pharisees, we are blind and tend to guess God's will for us.

Mary Magdalene had great love for Christ; though she missed the significance of the empty tomb at first, her love made her worthy to see the resurrected Christ in the garden. Her love for Christ was most spiritual; but this does not preclude its human expression. So Mary Magdalene clasps the feet of Christ, apparently refusing to let go. Christ had to say, "Woman, let go of me."

But it was Peter and John who showed great wisdom. From mere visible linen, they made a Divine conclusion. Few can do this. We are surrounded by signs by which God expresses His will but few of us can see the Divine message.

Lovers would always want to be with their beloved; thus, Mary Magdalene wanted to be with Christ always, even if He was dead. And so with the Apostles. It is such kind of people who look forward to something eternal that would allow lover and beloved to be together. And this is only possible in heaven. And this eternal togetherness in the perfection of love can only be initiated by each one's own resurrection. 

 

 

 

 

 

(01-23-03)

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