The Clothes Make the Man

“He went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,

the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.”  John 20:6-9

When I was expecting my first child, Paul, my 2-year-old nephew Jeremy often accompanied me to my prenatal appointments. Each time we saw “Jen’s tiny baby” on the ultrasound, he was annoyed that the baby “had no shirt on.” Shortly after Paul was born, he was cleaned up and wrapped in a plain white hospital-issued undershirt. Since Jeremy was too young to come into the maternity ward, my husband wheeled the little bassinet over to a place where he would be able to see the baby. 

After seeing Paul for the first time, Jeremy excitedly told everyone in the hospital waiting room, “Tiny baby here! Him have shirt on! Him have shirt on!” That image on the ultrasound screen was incomplete. The new baby FINALLY being clothed, was an indicator that he had really arrived. A simple white shirt was a symbol of his humanness. 

The disciples arrive at the tomb on Easter morning. They see the empty burial clothes lying on the ground and something about the placement clicks.  These ceremonial wrappings, which they carefully completed in order to provide a proper Jewish burial, could not contain life. The massive rock covering the tomb could not contain life. The disciples’ eyes are opened and they begin to see that Jesus had triumphed over death. 

At our Baptism, we are clothed in a white garment, a symbol of this new life in Christ. This white garment could be an ornate gold and lace- trimmed creation, a simple onesie, or an abandoned burial cloth. These clothes are reminders that God’s love for us is bigger than death. 

Today, we taste, touch, and see the tangible signs of Easter. May each meal we share with loved ones also fill us with God’s love. May the Eucharist we celebrate nourish us for the week to come. May the Easter egg hunts and festivities show us the unbridled joy of discovery and wonder. 

God, I offer my emptiness to you today. Fill it with your love, joy, and wonder. 

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at www.jencoito.com.

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