Recently, my nephew and his wife were trying to explain Easter to their first grader. They said she was troubled by the idea of it all. I’d say for any child, the image of a man coming out of tomb would be an unusual thing for them to think about, and maybe even a bit scary.
Recently I was reading a commentary by a priest with whom I studied at St. Louis University. His name is Roger Karban, of the Belleville, IL diocese. After reading his commentary on the Resurrection, here is my summary of some of his ideas.
The empty tomb image was the only way the New Testament authors could think of to tell a faith reality that existed in the hearts of the early communities. Neither they nor the authors had had eyewitness experiences of historical Jesus or the resurrection. It was purely a faith conviction. The only Jesus they experienced was the Jesus we experience today. But they had a big problem – how to convey a huge and overwhelming spiritual reality of resurrection (passed on down orally from the first apostles and Mary) — so they had to express it all through stories, like the “empty tomb” and Jesus “appearing” and Thomas putting his fingers in the “wounds,” etc.
It is like trying to describe an awesome experience of love. We are left with having to use images. Resurrection means that after we die we will all be together even our pets will be with us!. We will all know one another and there will be no pain or limitation. Every atom of creation will be restored and we will all sparkle! Makes us all want to be happy and good now!