It’s really amazing how appropriate these readings are for what we’re celebrating today. The account in the Gospel, as you know, is the first Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead. If you remember last Sunday’s Gospel, the day of Easter, John is the same Gospel writer who told us how early in the morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and was worried about the stone being moved away. It was gone, and she discovered that the tomb was empty. She was terrified.
She runs and gets Peter and John. They come running to the tomb, and John gets there first. He waits and Peter comes, and then they both go in. The Gospel writer says John saw and believed. It doesn’t say anything about Peter, but then they both believed. Now it’s Easter Sunday night, when our Gospel for today begins. After Peter and John had left the tomb, Jesus saw Mary Magdalene, but she didn’t recognize him. He called her by her name, and then she knew right away who this is.
She’s the one that went and told all the other disciples. At first, it seems like they’re just trying to be confident, happy and rejoice, but now on Easter Sunday night, I guess they’re beginning to have kind of second thoughts. Could it really have happened or did somebody steal the body? What’s going on? They’re afraid, so they gather in that upper room, all the disciples, the community of disciples, out of fear. Then suddenly, as we hear in the Gospel today, Jesus is right there in their midst.