Monday 2 April 2018

Father Ignatius Makes A Discovery

There are times when a light turns on in your head and you see something clearly for the first time and understand something new you’d never realized before.

Father Ignatius was a studious type of person spending many hours reading the Bible as well as many books on theology, ancient history and similar subjects which would soon send any lesser head spinning widely.

One evening he retired to the room he called “my meditation corner” and after reciting the Rosary he started reading the Bible and cross-referencing certain passages with other books to better understand what God is teaching through His Word.

One passage in particular caught his interest. After Christ’s death and burial, we are told that Mary Magdalene visited the tomb and found the stone rolled away from the entrance. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple and told them what she had seen. Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb. When Simon Peter got in and went inside he noticed the linen wrappings lying there, but the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded and lying to the side.

There it was, in the Gospel of John Chapter 20 Verse 7.

Father Ignatius puzzled about this for a moment or two. He’d read that chapter many times and nothing specific occurred to him. But this time, as if a small voice buzzing in his head, he kept wondering the significance of what he had read.

“Why are we told that the cloth which covered Jesus’ head was folded and lying to the side? What’s so important about that?” Father Ignatius asked himself.

Yet somehow, John thought it important enough to mention it. Why?

Father Ignatius checked the other three Gospels but they did not mention this fact. “But why did John consider it so significant to point it out” he wondered silently.

After hours of searching other books and checking on ancient traditions he came upon something he’d never known before.

In ancient Hebrew tradition the folded napkin was symbolic between the master of the house and his servant.

When the servant set the dinner table he made sure that everything was perfectly set out as the master wished and then he would wait out of sight until the master finished eating.

The servant would not clear the table until the master had finished.

When the master finished his meal he would wipe his fingers and mouth with the napkin and then toss the napkin on the table.

The servant would then clear the table, because in those days a tossed napkin meant “I’ve finished.”

However … and this is the significant bit which Father Ignatius discovered for himself, if the master left the table but neatly folded the napkin and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not touch the table.

Because the folded napkin meant “I’m coming back!”

“He’s coming back …” mumbled Father Ignatius in wonderment.

That’s what John was trying to tell us in his Gospel.


  1. That's the first I've run into that detail about the folded cloth. Remarkable.

    The symbolic 'I'll be back' message is consistent with what our Lord seems to assume in answering the 'when will you restore the kingdom' question in Acts 1:5-8.

    Also what so much of The Book of Revelation is about, and what the Church has been saying for two millennia.

    1. I didn't know about this either, Brian, until I read about it some years ago.

      God bless you my friend.

  2. Yes. I've read this account before and believe that it does have significance. Christ is risen!!

  3. Replies
    1. Quite an amazing story from John's Gospel.

      God bless you, Bill.

  4. I have heard this before, Victor, and it's quite the story. A friend shared another theory about the folded head covering; I haven't researched it to see if it's true, but it is interesting. Carpenters in Jesus' day always carried a cloth to wipe the sweat from their faces as they were working. When a job was complete, the carpenter would fold that cloth, and leave it as a symbol to the one for whom he had worked as a sign that "It is finished." Wow!
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. I never heard the second version of this story, Martha. Thank you for telling us about the carpenters. It's amazing how much there is to learn from Bible stories and the Gospels.

      God bless you, Martha.

  5. Hello Victor. Thank you for this post. It is fascinating and enlightening. A wonderful lesson at any time but especially so around Easter. Thank you for sharing and for your kind comment on my blog. John

    1. Hi John,

      It is so nice to see you visiting here. Thank you. Please call again.

      I too, found this story fascinating when I first read about it. Best wishes for Easter.

      God bless.

  6. This has me thinking, Victor!
    Blessings, My Friend!

  7. I didn't know that but that makes perfect sense.
    Going to tell my Pastor that and see if he has heard of it.
    It is amazing how much there is yet to learn even after reading the same passages time after time.

    1. I'd be interested to learn what you Pastor says, Happyone.

      God bless you and yours always.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Mentioned the folded napkin to my Pastor last night. He had heard of it and thought it very significant! He had a small 15 page booklet written by Dr. Clyde Box all about it that he gave to me.

    4. Thank you so much for this information, Happyone. I shall check out that booklet.

      Many thanx. God bless.



God bless you.