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Why does the Gospel of St. John make such a fuss over the burial clothes of Jesus being found in the empty tomb and the cloth covering his head rolled up and placed in a separate place?
St. John Chrysostom comments on this, stating, “(T)he body of Jesus was buried with much myrrh, which glues linen to the body even more firmly than lead.”
This is important to note. At the time that the Gospel of John was written, there were still rumors that the body of Jesus had been stolen. Remember that, at first, Mary also thought someone had taken the body of Jesus. But no grave robber would have taken the time to tediously remove the glued on cloth from the body of Jesus.
St. John, by highlighting the burial cloths found in the empty tomb is making a statement. This empty tomb is an act of God!
In the Old Testament, there are various hints that God would cause us to rise up again from the dead. Isaiah writes of God, “He will destroy death forever” (Is. 225:8). Today’s feast of the Resurrection of Jesus is the first fruits of that promise. But the resurrection of Jesus is not the last fruit of God’s promise.
Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives forever, so after death the righteous will live forever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity” (#989).
And that is why we shout with joy today, “He is risen. He is risen indeed,” because we believe that we shall someday be risen too. We have seen in Christ that God has the power and the will to do as he has promised.
Happy Easter everyone.
Have a blessed Easter season.