Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Profession of Faith 167 entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there,” “he saw and believed.” 496 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. 497 The appearances of the Risen One 641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste be- cause the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One. 498 Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ’s Resurrection for the apostles themselves. 499 They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his broth- ers, 500 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!” 501 642 Everything that happened during those Paschal days in- volves each of the apostles—and Peter in particular—in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection,” but they are not the only ones—Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles. 502 643 Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be inter- preted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faithwas drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold. 503 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad” 504 ) and frightened. For they had not believed the holywomen returning 496 Jn 20:2, 6, 8. 497 Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-7. 498 Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31, 42. 499 Cf. Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18. 500 Cf. 1 Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32. 501 Lk 24:34, 36. 502 1 Cor 15:4-8; cf. Acts 1:22. 503 Cf. Lk 22:31-32. 504 Lk 24:17; cf. Jn 20:19. 999 553 448 659, 881 860