In his "Pastoral Ponderings" email, Reardon noted the Apostle John's
mention in his resurrection account that the kerchief which had been on
Jesus' face "not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place
by itself" (John 20:7). Reardon writes:
"That instant of the Resurrection of Jesus was the most
decisive moment in the history of the world. It was the event of
deepest importance for every human being who ever lived. It was the
supreme kairos. The Law and the Prophets were fulfilled in that moment, and the existence of the human race took on an utterly new meaning.
"What, however, was the first thing Jesus did when the Resurrection
life came surging into His body? The simplest and plainest thing
imaginable: He reached up, pulled the kerchief from His face, folded
it, and set it aside, as though it had been a napkin used at breakfast."
Reardon concludes by writing this:
"The universal Christ, the eternal Word in whom all
things subsist, was still the same Jesus, to whom an act of elementary
neatness came naturally. He spontaneously did what He would likely have
done in any case, much as another man might unconsciously scratch his
ear, or yet another look around for a stick to whack the weeds with as
he walked along.
"The risen Lord was the same Jesus His friends had always known. He
had just returned from the realm of hell, where He trampled down death
by death. He was on the point of going forth as a giant to run His
course. He was about to begin appearing to His disciples, providing
them with many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days,
and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
"Nonetheless, He was still the same person, whose instinctive habits
remained identical. First, He took a moment to fold the kerchief He had
used, and only then did He stride out to change the direction of
history and transform the lives of human beings."
I'm not sure I've ever given any thought to the face kerchief in
that empty tomb before. But this word prompted me to pray, and to thank
God for a Messiah who is not just Christ but Jesus. He is a Person, with practices and habits. He can be known.
Praise God for the Christ of the folded napkin.