In the early hours of that first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene saw that the stone was removed from the tomb of Jesus. She hurried back to tell the future pope, Peter, and the beloved disciple, John, that Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found, and she thought Jesus’ body was stolen, even though it wasn’t as cited in Matthew’s Gospel (Mt. 28:13). Peter and John ran back to the entrance of the tomb, and it was John who arrived first. They both observed the burial cloths. But Jesus’ body was absent from the tomb. Then John “saw and believed” (Jn. 20:8).
In our day and time as I’m sure it was in Jesus’ time, “seeing is believing.” But the Resurrection is something different. Jesus calls us to something greater, something bigger, something much deeper. What is that “something greater” that we can’t see? I will get to that in a moment. But the Resurrection is a mystery. It is a mystery that leads to the door of new life for us, the door upon which this “something greater” hinges. The mystery of the Resurrection calls for a response, and what is our response? Faith. We see with the eyes of faith for “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
We weren’t blessed to see the empty tomb like Mary Magdalene, John or Peter. Nor did we have the privilege to see Jesus in one of the Resurrection appearances like when the disciples encountered him in the Upper Room (Jn. 20:19-31), or when they encountered him on the Road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35), or even when Jesus ate fish with them (Lk. 24:36-53). After the apostle Thomas was invited to put his finger into Jesus’ side, Jesus responded, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn. 20:29).
We can’t respond with belief or faith in Jesus and in his Resurrection on our own. We need his help. That’s why he sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2) to inspire the apostles and the other disciples to bring the Good News to the whole world. Similarly, we are given the grace of the Holy Spirit at baptism which includes the grace of faith to believe and also bear witness to the entire planet of the Good News of Jesus Christ and his glorious Resurrection.
Furthermore, what does faith do? According to St. Anselm, “faith seeks understanding.” We have a desire to know our Catholic faith and Church teaching. But we also long to understand Jesus and know who he is.
In the end having been given the overwhelming amount of evidence of Jesus’ Resurrection, what is our response? Faith. We believe. I encourage you to check out a song on youtube.com. Type “We believe.” It’s a song by the Newsboys, the same group that is well known for the singing the popular Christian song, “God is not dead.” Listen to the song, and let the lyrics and music inspire you. Today Jesus is Risen! Let us respond in faith to Jesus our God and Savior who has destroyed sin and death. May we rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6). “We believe!”