This homily was delivered on Easter Sunday, 20 April 2014, based on John 20:1-9.

Eugène Burnand: Peter and John Running to the Tomb
Eugène Burnand: Peter and John Running to the Tomb

This event is one of the earliest ones concerning the Resurrection; it happens early Easter morning. As we read from the Gospel, Mary Magdalene shows up at Jesus’ tomb while it is still dark, but is surprised and distressed to see the stone removed from Jesus’ tomb. So she rushes away to report this to Simon Peter and another disciple (whom many identify as the Evangelist) and tells them her very logical conclusion that the body of Jesus has been stolen.

Curious and disturbed about the news, the disciples decide to check it out for themselves. They’re understandably worried and clearly eager to find out because we’re told that they run to the tomb. In fact, the other disciple runs faster than Peter–either because he’s more fit or more desperate, we’re not sure–and arrives at the tomb first. We don’t know why, but probably out of courtesy, he does not go into the tomb until Peter gets there and in fact, he lets Peter go in first.