continuing my translation of Paul Badde's article from the official publication of the shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello Il Volto Santo Santo di Manoppello, December 2009
"It would be helpful to take a look at the road leading to the tomb of Christ, in company with Peter and John. Mary Magdalen had run in a hurry to them "early in the morning when it was still dark" and had alarmed them "they have taken away the Lord from the tomb and we don't know where they have laid him". Was this meeting perhaps at a refuge at the feet of the Mount of Olives or on Mount Sion? We don't know. To travel the road to and from Mt. Sion would have taken around a quarter of an hour, while to go to the Mount of Olives and then return would have required double that. And then the effort would have been tiring, uphill, towards the city and around the walls of the city. All this remains unspoken. Could the Magdalen have been able to see inside the tomb without any light? We don't know. In the darkness she had seen that the massive rock which served to close the entrance had been removed, rolled away, writes John who in the pre-dawn hours had hurried to the tomb together with Peter. Had it already begun to grow lighter? It's possible but at Jerusalem the dawning corrresponds to a rather brief period of time. "Then Peter and the other disciple left and headed for the tomb" it is nevertheless written in the Gospel. "They ran together but since the other disciple was younger, he arrived first. He bent down and saw the cloths laid out but did not enter into the tomb". John had to bend down. Still today we note how low the entrance was. The things which could been able to have been distinguished in this room, from the outside, could not have been many. But why then didn't he enter. Certainly partly due to the religious respect towards tombs which is held by every devout Jew. John had been under the cross. He knew that Jesus was truly dead. Respectful also was Simon Peter, and also no less devout. But he was certainly in a state of total confusion. Peter was beside himself from the moment two evenings before when he had betrayed three times the dearest person in his life, and this in the hour of his greatest suffering. Now he ran behind, but wanted to enter immediately into the burial chamber. No one could have been able to stop him. After the disturbing news from the Magadalen he had to enter, he had to verify what had happened. It wasn't much. He saw the cloths lying there, writes John, but without candles, without light, in the weak light of the fleeing night which would be able to penetrate through the narrow opening, we can think of this "seeing" without a doubt more as a touching and feeling. How could it be any different? The cloths were liturgically impure, as the rest of the tomb was. There it was fully dark, above all to the right, alongside the entrance above the stone slab where Jesus had been laid. Then Peter touched and "saw" the cloths and immediately understood, he is not here! There was no one there anymore. Again another time he felt the various cloths on the bed of stone. Jesus was not there any more. There was no doubt!"