Three of Jesus’ friends find his empty tomb - Catholic Courier
(Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers) Jesus' friends find the empty tomb with the grave cloths rolled up. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

Three of Jesus’ friends find his empty tomb

Gospel reading for April 9, 2023: Jn 20:1-9

In this issue:

Children’s story: Three of Jesus’ friends find his empty tomb
Essay Question
Bible Accent: The resurrected Jesus appeared to the apostles
Saint for Today: St. Simeon of Jerusalem
Puzzle: Circle the correct word

After Jesus was arrested, he was tried before Pilate and sent to be crucified at Golgotha.

Three women stood at the foot of the cross as Jesus was dying — Mary, his mother; Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas; and Mary of Magdala, one of his followers.

After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea, who secretly was a follower of Jesus, was permitted to remove Jesus’ body from the cross. He was assisted by Nicodemus, a Pharisee who once had secretly visited Jesus.

Joseph and Nicodemus placed a mixture of myrrh and aloes on Jesus’ body and wrapped it in burial cloths. Since it was Friday, the day when Jews prepared for the Sabbath, the men quickly placed Jesus’ body in a new tomb in a nearby garden.

On Sunday, Mary of Magdala visited the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark.

When she saw that the stone in front of the tomb’s entrance had been rolled away, she left to tell Simon Peter and the apostle whom Jesus loved that Jesus’ body was gone.

The two men ran to the tomb to see for themselves.

Simon Peter went inside the tomb and saw the burial cloths. He noticed the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head had been rolled up and was in a separate area of the tomb.

The apostle whom Jesus loved also entered the tomb. He and Simon Peter both believed what Mary had told them.

Yet they did not yet understand that Scripture said Jesus had to rise from the dead.

The apostles returned home, but Mary stayed behind at the tomb and wept.

Suddenly, she saw two angels in the tomb. They asked her why she was weeping.

“They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him,” she cried.

As she spoke, she turned and saw Jesus, whom she mistook for a gardener. She begged to know where Jesus’ body had been taken.

“Mary!” Jesus exclaimed, which made Mary recognize him.

Jesus told Mary to go to the apostles and tell them that he was going to ascend to his Father in heaven.

Mary hurried to the apostles and told them everything she saw and heard.


John 19 & 20


1. What did Mary notice at the tomb?

2. What did Jesus want Mary to do?

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Essay Question

Have you ever needed to see something before you believed it?

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Bible Accent

Mary of Magdala was not the only person to whom the resurrected Jesus appeared.

For example, we read in John 20:19 that on the same day Jesus appeared to Mary, he also appeared to the apostles, who had gathered in a locked room.

“Peace be with you,” Jesus said.

He showed his friends his hands, which bore the marks of being nailed to the cross. He also showed them the wound in his side, where he had been pierced with a lance after he died.

The apostles rejoiced.

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” Jesus said.

Then he breathed on his friends.

“Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

One of the apostles, Thomas, was not there when Jesus appeared. So Thomas did not believe his friends when they said they had seen Jesus.

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe,” he said.

A week later, Jesus again appeared to his friends. This time, Thomas was there.

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed after he saw Jesus and felt his wounds.

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Saint for Today: St. Simeon of Jerusalem

Simeon, who is mentioned in the Gospels of Luke and John, was the son of Clopas and a cousin of Jesus.

He became bishop of Jerusalem about the year 62 after the martyrdom of St. James.

During the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan, Simeon was arrested and was tortured “for being a descendant of David and a Christian.” The historian St. Hegesippus witnessed Simeon’s crucifixion and death around the year 107.

Since Simeon was 120 years old when he died, the early Christian writer Eusebius said Simeon probably “saw and heard the Lord.”

We remember Simeon on April 27.

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Using the hints provided from John 21, circle the correct words to complete these sentences about the resurrected Jesus appearing to his followers.

1. Jesus appeared to his friends at the Sea of Galilee/Tiberias. (verse 1)

2. Jesus told his friends to cast their net over the right/left side of the boat. (verse 6)

3. Jesus invited his friends to pray/eat breakfast. (verse 12)

4. Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs/goats. (verse 15)

Answers: 1. Tiberias; 2. right; 3. breakfast; 4. lambs

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