CCC 641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.1 Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ’s Resurrection for the apostles themselves.2 They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers,3 and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”4
CCC 645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.5 Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm.6 For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.7
1 Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31,42.
2 Cf Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18.
3 Cf I Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32.
4 Lk 24:34, 36.
5 Cf. Lk 24:30,39-40, 41-43; Jn 20:20, 27; 21:9,13-15.
6 Cf. Mt 28:9, 16-17; Lk 24:15, 36; Jn 20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.
7 Cf. Mk 16:12; Jn 20:14-16; 21:4, 7.