According to the accounts made by the four evangelists, it was the women who were visiting the tomb. In John’s narrative, it was Mary of Magdala who found the stone at the burial site removed so she ran back to the disciples to inform them that Jesus’ dead body could have been stolen and taken anywhere.

The other evangelists said there were actually two to three women, not only Mary of Magdala, but they did not recognize Jesus when they met him in the garden. They thought he was the gardener.

Followers of Jesus did not know about the resurrection. They probably did not understand or they chose to ignore what Jesus told them — that he would die and rise from the dead after three days.

The Jews also did not believe in the resurrection. They posted guards at the tomb to make sure Jesus’ disciples would not steal his body and make it appear he rose from the dead.

Could Jesus’ body disappear like that? If it was stolen by the disciples or anyone, would they remove the cloth wrapping his body and head? Remember, anyone stealing a dead body during those times would be handling an unembalmed cadaver. The stench would be so strong and no one would dare take the cloth wrapping the body.

Two Sundays ago, Roman Catholic faithful remember how Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’ sisters told Jesus the stench was strong so they covered the cave with stone. Lazarus was dead for four days after Jesus delayed his coming for two days. But he came out from his tomb with bandages and cloth, the traditional burial custom at that time. There was no mention of the foul odor.

So when Peter and the other disciples went in, the Bible did not mention about the odor but they saw the folded cloth neatly arranged in the tomb, an indication that Jesus had risen from the dead.

But did the disciples know that he has risen? The answer is a big NO. They locked themselves in a room for fear of the Jews after that and believed only that Jesus is alive when he appeared before them, passing through a locked door. He even showed the doubting Thomas his wounds.

The empty tomb and the rolled cloth seemed to be mysteries about Christ’s resurrection that was hard for many unbelievers to understand.

During those times, there were many reports of births by virgin mothers but there were rare resurrections. Apart from Lazarus, the resurrection of Jesus was considered by many as a miracle because they did not believe he was divine and the son of God. In fact, he is God. In the Catholic Church’s Trinity doctrine, Jesus is the God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

So who came first to the tomb and rolled the cloth? Did Jesus awake from his sleep and remove the cloth wrapping his body all by himself?

A priest at the Mega Mall on Sunday had a theory. Mary, the Blessed Mother of God, was there as the first witness of his resurrection.

The priest did not mention any reference material on the presence of Mary at the tomb. There was no record of that. It was not mentioned by the four evangelists or any oral or written history about the time.

But it was logical for a weeping mother to stay close to her son. She was there when Roman soldiers tortured her son, nailed him to the cross and she was also right down at his foot before he died. It was not impossible for Mary to be there at the tomb as the first witness in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Only a mother could remove the bandage and fold it nearly.

God chose Mary to bear Jesus in her womb and she was a witness to Jesus’ first miracle at a wedding in Cana. Mary was always the first to witness the glory of Jesus, the glory of God.

No wonder, Filipinos have a centuries-old tradition of “Saludong” at dawn on Easter Sunday when the Catholic Churches hold separate processions — one following Mary and the other following Jesus — and meeting at the church.

Unlike the Good Friday procession where dozens of icons are paraded, the “Salubong” procession has only two main players — Mary and Jesus.

I admired the priest’s devotion to Mama Mary. He could think about her presence at that time Jesus rose from the dead. Not even Church fathers in the 1st century could think about it and inserted it among Church writings when Emperor Constantine sanctioned the first Bible in the 4th century — the beginning of a universal church as the Roman emperors embraced Christ teachings, making Christianity a state religion throughout the empire.

From persecution to persecutor. But that’s another story.