Acts of the Apostles 10, 34-43 + Psalm 118 + Colossians 3, 1-4 + John 20, 1-9
April 9, 2023 at St. William & St. Peter Churches in Naples, FL
There is a lot of running around in this story and none of the runners seem to know what’s going on. This Mary runs to tell Simon Peter that there’s an empty tomb. Then Simon Peter and another disciple go running as though it was a race, and the Gospel tells us that Peter came in second. A lot of running around over an empty tomb, and no one seems to understand why much less why they were running around early in the morning.
This Gospel give us a lot of details, but not much real information. It does not tell us why she was up at that hour roaming around in the dark among tombs. But when she apparently finds the tomb she had come to see, she jumps to the only logical conclusion. Someone took the body away. If we get the details right, she was there when the body went in, so she had the right tomb, but as we know it, the wrong conclusion. Sometimes logic has nothing to do with faith.
These two men seem to take turns peeking into that tomb, and all the Gospel tells us is that one “believed”, but it does not tell us what he believed. At the same time, it tells us that they didn’t understand, and that raises an important question: “How can you believe what you don’t understand?” Did he believe what the woman had told them, or did he believe something else? The Gospel writer leaves them standing there, and simply tells us the obvious, they didn’t understand, because an empty tomb proves absolutely nothing.
Our scientific age always looking for evidence and collecting data is at loss when it comes to this story. Rolled up and folded cloths, prove nothing. That leaves us today with no proof and a question about believing when you don’t understand. These are people of “little faith.” That’s how Jesus once described them. What we can see is that the “little faith” they had was something to grow on, and they did. So, can we. One thing that beloved disciple understood completely was that he didn’t understand, and at that point, they could begin to be drawn into the mystery of the Scriptures and the message that love is never overcome when it comes to God.
Mary was certain that someone had taken the body, but her little faith began to crack her certainties. All three of these people had just enough faith to allow them to distrust their verdict that this was the end of the story with Jesus. There was more to come as there always is, and it isn’t logical.
We are in this church as people of little faith. We don’t understand a lot of stuff these days, but if we believe just a little bit and listen a little more to the Sacred Scriptures, we can see what this Gospel is teaching us that we are not going to understand the Resurrection until we finally face the tragedy of evil that seems powerful enough to break us. Those disciples teach us not to flee from tragedy, but to stand in front of it with a little faith and a little hope, and not be terrified by what we do not understand and yet are willing to believe.
For anyone still wanting some proof for the Resurrection, we will have to be all they get. Those wanting proof will eventually have to simply look at us, how we live, how we face fear, tragedy, and evil. They may not understand, but they just might come to have a little faith or at least let the certainty of their unbelief be called into question. They empty tomb is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of our story.