The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

April 25: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 28:8-15)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 25, 2011

Ver  8. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.9. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “All hail.” And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.10. Then said Jesus unto them, “Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”

Hilary: The women having been comforted by the Angel, are straightway met by the Lord, that when they should proclaim His resurrection to the disciples, they should speak rather from Christ’s own mouth than from an Angel’s.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 23: “They departed forth of the tomb,” that is, from that spot of the garden which was before the tomb hewn in the rock.

Jerome: A twofold feeling possessed the minds of the women, fear and joy; fear, at the greatness of the miracle; joy, in their desire of Him that was risen; but both added speed to their women’s steps, as it follows, “And did run to bring his disciples word.” They went to the Apostles, that through them might be spread abroad the seed of the faith. They who thus desired, and who thus ran, merited to have their rising Lord come to meet them; whence it follows, “And, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail.”

Raban.: Hereby He shewed that He will meet with His help all those who begin the ways of virtue, and enable them to attain to everlasting salvation.

Jerome: The women ought first to hear this “Hail,” that the curse of the woman “Eve” may be removed in these women.

Chrysol., Serm. 76: That in these women is contained a full figure of the Church is shewn hereby, that Christ convinces His disciples when in doubt concerning the Resurrection, and confirms them when in fear; and when He meets them He does not terrify them by His power, but prevents them with the ardour of love. And Christ in His Church salutes Himself, for He has taken it into His own Body.

Aug.: We conclude that they had speech of Angels twice at the sepulchre; when they saw one Angel, of whom Matthew and Mark speak; and again when they saw two Angels, as Luke and John relate. And twice in like manner of the Lord; once at that time when Mary supposed Him to be “the gardener,” [Joh_20:15] and now again when He met them in the way to confirm them by repetition, and to restore them from their faintness.

Chrysol.: Then Mary was not suffered to touch Him; now she has permission not only to touch, but to hold Him altogether; “they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.”

Raban.: It was told above how He rose when the sepulchre was closed, to shew that that body which had been shut up therein dead, was now become immortal. He now offers His feet to be held by the women, to shew that He had real flesh, which can be to

Chrysol.: They hold Christ’s feet, who in the Church present the type of Evangelic preaching, and merit this privilege by their running to Him; and by faith so detain their Saviour’s footsteps, that they may come to the honour of His perfect Godhead. She is deservedly bid to “touch me not,” who mourns her Lord upon earth, and so seeks Him dead in the tomb, as not to know that He reigns in heaven with the Father. This, that the same Mary, one while exalted to the summit of faith, touches Christ, and holds Him with entire and holy affection; and again, cast down in weakness of flesh, and  womanly infirmity, doubts, undeserving to touch her Lord, causes us no difficulty.

For that is of mystery, this of her sex; that is of divine grace, this of human nature. And so also we, when we have knowledge of divine things, live unto God; when we are wise in human things, we are blinded by our own selves.

Chrysol., Serm. 80: They held His feet to shew that the head of Christ is the man, but that the woman is in Christ’s feet, and that it was given to them through Christ, not to go before, but to follow the man. Christ also repeats what the Angel had said, that what an Angel had made sure, Christ might make yet more sure.  It follows, “Then saith Jesus unto them, Fear not.”

Jerome: This may be always observed, both in the Old and New Testament, that when there is an appearance of any majestic person, the first thing done is to banish fear, that the mind being tranquillized may receive the things that are said.

Hilary: The same order as of old now followed in the reversal of our woe, that whereas death began from the female sex, the same should now first see the glory of the Resurrection, and be made the messenger thereof.

Whence the Lord adds, “Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there shall they see me.”

Chrysol.: He calls them “brethren” whom He has made akin to His own body; “brethren” whom the generous Heir has made His co-heirs; “brethren,” whom He has adopted to be sons of His own Father.

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, ult: That the Lord, both by His own mouth, and by the Angel, directs them to seek for Him, not in that place in which He was to shew Himself first, but in Galilee, makes every believer anxious to understand in what mystery it is spoken. Galilee is interpreted ‘transmigration,’ or ‘revelation.’ [ed. note: According to the two different senses of the Hebrew root , ‘migrating from a country,’ or ‘revealing,’ both coming from the primitive notion of ‘making bare.’]

And according to the first interpretation what meaning offers itself, save this, that the grace of Christ was to pass from the people of Israel to the Gentiles, who would not believe when the Apostles should preach the Gospel to them, unless the Lord Himself should first make ready their way in the hearts of men. This is the signification of that, “He shall go before you into Galilee. There shall ye see him,” means, there shall ye find His members, there shall ye perceive His living Body in such as shall receive you. According to the other interpretation, ‘revelation,’ it is to be understood, “ye shall see him” no longer in the form of a servant, but in that in which He is equal with the Father. That revelation will be the true Galilee, when “we shall be like him, and shall see him as he is.” [John3:2] That will be the blessed passing from this world to that eternity.

Ver  11. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the Chief Priests all the things that were done.12. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,13. Saying, “Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.14. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.”15. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Chrys., Hom. xc: Of the signs which were shewn around Christ, some were common to the whole world, as the darkness; some peculiar to the watch, as the wonderful apparition of Angels, and the earthquake, which were wrought for the soldiers’ sake, that they might be stunned with amazement, and bear testimony to the truth. For when truth is proclaimed by its adversaries, it adds to its brightness.

which befel now; “Some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the Chief Priests all the things that were done.”

Raban.: Simple minds, and unlearned country-folk, often make manifest without guile the truth of a matter, as the thing is; but on the other hand, a crafty wickedness studies how to recommend falsehood by glosing words.

Jerome: Thus the Chief Priests, who ought to have been by this turned to penitence, and to seek Jesus risen, persevere in their wickedness, and convert the money which was given for the use of the Temple to the purchase of a lie, as before they had given thirty pieces of silver to the traitor Judas.

Chrysol.: Not content to have put the Master to death, they plot how they may destroy the disciples, and make the Master’s power matter of charge against His disciples. The soldiers indeed lost Him, the Jews missed Him, but the disciples carried Him away, not by theft, but by faith; by virtue, and not by fraud; by holiness, and not by wickedness; alive, and not dead.

Chrys.: How should the disciples carry Him away by stealth, men poor, and of no station, and who scarcely dared to shew themselves? They fled when afterwards they saw Christ alive, how, when He was dead, would they not have feared so great a multitude of soldiers? How were they to remove the door of the sepulchre? One might have done it unperceived by the guard. But a large stone was rolled to the mouth requiring many hands. And was not the seal thereon? And why did they not attempt it the first night, when there was none at the sepulchre? For it was on the Sabbath that they begged the body of Jesus.

Moreover, what mean these napkins which Peter sees laid here? Had the disciples stolen the Body, they would never have stripped it, both because it might so receive hurt, and cause unnecessary delay to themselves, and so expose them to be taken by the watch; especially since the Body and clothes were covered with myrrh, a glutinous spice, which would cause them to adhere.

The allegation of the theft then is improbable. So that their endeavours to conceal the Resurrection do but make it more manifest. For when they say, “His disciples stole the body,” they confess that it is not in the sepulchre. And as they thus confess that they had not the Body, and as the watch, the sealing, and the fears of the disciples, make the theft improbable, there is seen evidence of the Resurrection not to be gainsaid.

Remig.: But if the guards slept, how saw they the theft? And if they saw it not, how could they witness thereto? So that what they desire to shew, they cannot shew.

Gloss., non occ.: That the fear of the Governor might not restrain them from this lie, they promise them impunity.

Chrys.: See how all are corrupted; Pilate persuaded; the people stirred up; the soldiers bribed; as it follows, “And they took the money, and did as they were instructed.” If money prevailed with a disciple. so far as to make him become the betrayer of his Master, what wonder that the soldiers are overcome by it.

Hilary: The concealment of the Resurrection, and the false allegation of theft, is purchased by money; because by the honour of this world, which consists in money and desire, Christ’s glory is denied.

Raban.: But as the guilt of His blood, which they imprecated upon themselves and their children, presses them down with a heavy weight of sin, so the purchase of the lie, by which they deny the truth of the Resurrection, charges this guilt upon them for ever; as it follows, “And this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

Chrysol.: “Among the Jews,” not among the Christians; what in Judaea the Jew concealed by his gold, is by faith blazed abroad throughout the world.

Jerome: All who abuse to other purposes the money of the Temple, and the contributions for the use of the Church, purchasing with them their own pleasure, are like the Scribes and Priests who bought this lie, and the blood of the Saviour.

2 Responses to “April 25: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 28:8-15)”

  1. […] First Reading (Acts 2:14, 22-33)Father Callan on 1 Corinthians 2:6-10 for Sunday Mass, Feb 13April 25: Aquinas' Catena Aurea on Today's Gospel (Matt 28:8-15)April 21: Father Callan on the Second Reading for the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor […]

  2. […] Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 28:8-15). […]

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