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Catechism of the Catholic Church

The empty tomb

640 "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen." 492 The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise. 493 Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. 494 The disciple "whom Jesus loved" affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered "the linen cloths lying there", "he saw and believed". 495 This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus. 496


492 Lk 24:5-6.

493 Cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15.

494 Cf. Lk 24:3, 12, 22-23.

495 Jn 20:2, 6, 8.

496 Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-7.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.