Lectio Divina: First Sunday of Easter. Cycle B

on 30 Mar, 2024
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Bogotá (Colombia), Sr. Ana Francisca Vergara Abril, 31 March 2024.- The race on the first day of the week.



John 20, 1 - 10.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’ So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.


No New Testament passage narrates the event of Jesus' resurrection with precise details. We do not know precisely how it happened; we have traditionally elaborated accounts of how the disciples ascertained that the Lord had risen. All the Gospels stress that the Paschal event occurred on the first day of the week, the beginning of the tremendous inaugural week of our faith. In the first centuries, this day was spoken of as the eighth day of the week to signify the culmination of the week and that it is effectively extended eight days more in the octave of Easter; the number eight became synonymous with resurrection, hence the ecclesial tradition of building the baptisteries with octagonal shapes.

The account of the visit to the tomb and the verification that it was empty differs in significant part from the synoptic gospels; in the gospel of John, Mary Magdalene goes alone to the tomb, observes and runs to warn; then Peter and the beloved disciple run to verify what was said by the first spectator. John presents Mary Magdalene as a risky woman who goes out while it is still dark and goes alone to the tomb; in the words of the Magdalene to the disciples, we see the affection for Jesus and at the same time her bewilderment: 'They have taken away the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they have put him.'

The two disciples, Peter and the friend of Jesus, run, as Mary Magdalene had done; the second runs faster than Peter but has the detail to wait for him so that the older one is the first to enter the empty tomb. When they enter, they see that the body of the Lord is not there but that the sheets and the shrouds are separated, and the latter has been carefully rolled up. Someone took the task without rushing or hurrying to place the clothes properly; before this evidence, the beloved disciple sees and believes.


Let us pause for a moment to contemplate our rushing and running. Are these the product of love or curiosity? Why do we run? Indeed, we all want to go quickly to narrate what our eyes see; Mary Magdalene sees only the stone removed and is terrified at the loss of the Lord's body. Peter saw the sheets and the shroud, but there is no reaction that the evangelist manifests about him; the beloved disciple sees and believes. They are different reactions to an event. Perhaps love, the feeling of being loved, allows us to go further in our observation and contemplation. On the other hand, waiting and yielding the preeminence to the other opens us to the revelation of the Lord; this is a gesture of synodality. Jesus Christ awaits us at the end of our careers with things in order and asks us to stop, see, and feel his presence close to us, not in a bodily or physical way, but a spiritual presence.


Lord Jesus Christ, who has triumphed over death, guides our search; in our race to find you, may we know how to stop and let ourselves be found by you and allow others to discover you.


Open my eyes, mind, and heart, Lord, to see and believe!

In my races and haste to find you, may you give me time so that my brother and sister may go forward with me and contemplate you together!