After our Lord rose from the dead, there were certainly witnesses to his resurrection. There was St. Mary Magdalene, the first witness, (Mark 16:9), then two of his disciples on the way to Damascus, (Mark 16:12), his apostles (Mark 16:14), and later to up to 500 (1 Corinthians 15:6) at once.
But not one was with him when he resurrected. Why is that?
The obvious reason is that it happened inside his tomb where only he lay. Yet it remains a wonder; considering how, in all the other ways God revealed Himself through His Son, He ensured there were witnesses:
- At his conception (Luke 1:31)
- At his birth (Luke 2:16)
- At his baptism (Luke 3:21-22)
- At his transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-2)
- At the institution of the Eucharist (Luke 22:19-20)
- At his Passion and death (Luke 23)
One would think that at the very moment our Lord makes good on his promise of his resurrection (John 2:19), he would make sure someone was there to see it!
Why wasn’t there?
Only God can answer that, but it is worth contemplating, since it was Jesus himself who asked,
I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? (John 11:35-26).
Do you believe this?
Imagine you are there with Jesus in his Tomb. You are kneeling next to his body. He lays motionless, shrouded from head to foot in white linen. You hear a rumbling, and look to see a large stone being moved over the entrance—sealing you alone with Jesus.
The darkness is soon replaced by a small glow—because the tradition of the Church accords a lamp is to be kept alight to indicate and honor the presence of the body of Christ. Where is this light coming from?
You feel warm and realize the light is coming from you. It is your baptismal light; the fire of the Holy Spirit witnessing to the presence of Christ.
The Holy Spirit enlightens your soul with what will one day be proclaimed by the Church. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 635) the following, taken from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday:
Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began . . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam and his bonds and Eve, captive with him-He who is both their God and the son of Eve . . . “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son . . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell, Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”
Jesus rises, resurrecting before you. His burial cloths replaced by radiant light pouring from the wounds in his hands, his feet, and his side; all his other wounds are healed. He lovingly looks at you and asks, “What is dead in you that needs new life?”
You show the Lord your wounds. You tell him what hurts. As you do, your ugly, painful wounds transform, becoming rivers of light. You are new life in Jesus!
Let your imagination bring you into the present… Wonder at the likeness between the white linen-shrouded body of Jesus sealed in the Tomb and the white bread-shrouded Eucharistic Jesus kept in your parish’s tabernacle. Have you ever seen the edifice that has been built over the Tomb of Christ in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem? It resembles a larger brass tabernacle, complete with lighted lamps!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1374) states,
In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist, “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really and substantially contained.”
Do you believe?
Scripture tells us that after his Resurrection, Jesus easily walked through locked doors in his glorified Body (John 20:19 & 26). This means he can easily walk through the locked door of the tabernacle in your local church right into your barricaded, stony, hurting heart! Every time you come into the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, he is there lovingly looking at you and asking, “What is dead in you that needs new life?”
Perhaps God did not will a witness to his Son’s resurrection in the tomb because He has reserved it as an intimate encounter between Jesus Christ and every soul.
Jesus awaits you in the Eucharist. He wants to heal you, transform you and bring you to fullness of life!
Even in this time of COVID-19 protocols many Catholic Churches make Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament available for her faithful. Contact your local parish for days/times. At Pilgrim Center of Hope, you are welcome to visit our Gethsemane Chapel and spend time with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. The chapel is open as the Center is open, usually Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm. Visit PilgrimCenterofHope.org or contact us at 210-521-3377.
Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, motherhood and as a writer, speaker and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.