In his blog, Msgr. Charles Pope presents an interesting chronology of Easter: from the discovery of the empty tomb to the Ascension, Msgr. Pope takes the descriptions of events in the Gospels and makes an attempt to work them into a “sequence of the Resurrection events”. It’s an interesting attempt which, in my opinion, helps to ground the often miraculous, but also very human, events that we read in the Bible in the reality of every day. Or at least in the reality of the Apostles after the crucifixion of the Lord.
Msgr. Pope writes the following about his intentions with this chronological sequence:
“So here is a possible and, if I do say so myself, likely chronological sequence of the resurrection appearances. It is a kind of synthesis that attempts to collect all the data and present it in a logical order. There are limits to what we can expect of the Scriptural account, and fitting perfectly into a time frame and logical sequence is not what the texts primarily propose to do. Yet such a chronological sequence can prove helpful and it is in that spirit that I present this.”
The Gospels, and the entire Bible at that, are not primarily history books. But they do describe things that happened at a specific time and place, and so we can try and find that time and place and take from it what may be helpful in our spiritual life. Christ is, after all, not some fairy tale figure who exists purely in our imagination or in some vague place that exists ‘somewhere out there’. No, He became man, became part of us and our history. It is sometimes good to consider Him in such physical and earthly ways, because God chose to close the gap between us and Him through His Son.
Art credit: “The women going to the sepulchre”, by Robert Anning Bell, 1912