I suspect that each one of us knows a relative or friend who tends to be “pessimistic” about many things, usually looking at the “worst” that can happen in a given situation. That is really just a defence mechanism they are using, hoping to avoid (or preparing for) any shock that might occur if and when the “worst” does in fact happen in the future.
This could be the case with Mary Magdalene, Peter, and “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in today’s gospel. The short pericope or segment from the Evangelist ends with the observation that they did not anticipate the resurrection of Jesus. Certainly the teaching of Jesus had been clear on this point. As a minimum, they had heard the teaching (more than once), but it had not “sunk in” yet – perhaps it was the same “defence mechanism” at work.
In this brief gospel story, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” observes the empty tomb and the burial cloths carefully rolled up. “He saw and believed.” Those are crucial words! They are the first “glimmer of true hope” from any disciple. He believed, based on what he saw (and also on what he did not see). The Questioner above wanted to know why we are “left suspended” by the way the story ends; I believe the answer is precisely to show the birth of true hope. We do not need a firewall or “defence mechanism” because our faith unites with this hope and makes us loving members of the one Body of Christ. The empty tomb is all about hope, which must now be nurtured through daily prayer and meditation.
As Christians we are called to view death in the light of the resurrection of Jesus – because in His death and resurrection lies our hope. The Holy Spirit teaches us to celebrate every liturgy in eager expectation of the return of Jesus, by praying in hope.