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

Archive for July 18th, 2013

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 12:14-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

Mat 12:14  And the Pharisees going out made a consultation against him, how they might destroy him.

And the Pharisees going out. Consultation of the Pharisees. The third gospel [6:11] mentions the anger of the Pharisees [cf. 2 Tim. 3:9], and Mark [3:6] adds that they made common cause with the Herodians [cf. Josephus Antiq. XIV. xv. 10], though these parties were most opposed to one another. The end of the consultation was, how they might destroy Jesus [cf. Mt. 22:15; 27:1, 7; 28:12], so that their enmity has now reached its climax. Though these particular Pharisees did not represent the whole party, they showed the party tendency; the few friendly relations that Jesus had with any Pharisees may be regarded as the exceptions proving the general rule of Pharisaic opposition to our Lord [Schanz]. In the present case, they must have endeavored to formulate a charge of breaking the sabbath against Jesus, so as to inflict the penalty determined in Ex. 31:14.

Mat 12:15  But Jesus knowing it, retired from thence: and many followed him, and he healed them all.
Mat 12:16  And he charged them that they should not make him known.

But Jesus knowing it. Jesus in retirement. Here we see first how our Lord acts in his retirement; secondly, we see a prophecy fulfilled in him. [1] Behavior of Jesus. The evangelist describes our Lord’s condition very briefly: α. he knows the disposition and plans of the Pharisees; β. he retires from the synagogue where the preceding events have taken place, we know not whither, for though Mk. 3:7 says that he went “to the sea,” the circumstances in. the second gospel are so different from those in the first, that the events cannot probably be harmonized; γ. he was followed by many attracted by his meekness and charity; he healed all that needed his help; finally, he charged them—the Greek verb implies severity; cf. Mt. 16:22; Lk. 9:21; 19:39—not to make him known [cf. Mt. 8:4; Jn. 6:15], so as not to stimulate their expectations of a glorious Messias [Euthymius] and, at the same time, not to increase the envy of the Pharisees [Cajetan, Faber Stapulensis, Knabenbauer].

Mat 12:17  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaias the prophet, saying:
Mat 12:18  Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul hath been well pleased. I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
Mat 12:19  He shall not contend, nor cry out, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
Mat 12:20  The bruised reed he shall not break: and smoking flax he shall not extinguish: till he send forth judgment unto victory.
Mat 12:21  And in his name the Gentiles shall hope.

That it might be fulfilled. Fulfilment of the prophecy. The prophecy is taken from Is. 42:1–4, which may be thus rendered literally from the Hebrew: “Behold thy servant, I will uphold him; my elect, my soul deiighteth in him; I have put my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor raise [his voice]; nor shall he make his voice be heard abroad. The bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench, and unto truth he shall bring forth judgment. He shall not be sad, he shall not be troublesome, till he set judgment in the earth, and the islands shall anxiously await his law.” Böhl is of opinion that the evangelist quotes the Syriac Vulgate; Gesenius, Credner, and Köstlin believe that he follows the Chaldee version in the text of the prophecy; but Jerome appears to be right in maintaining that the evangelist follows the Hebrew text [ep. ad Algas. qu. 2], though in the last verse he cites the lxx. version. In the prophecy the evangelist first states the relation of Jesus to God; secondly, his relation to the Gentiles; thirdly, his personal character; fourthly, the relation of the Gentiles to Jesus. [α] Christ’s relation to God. He is the servant of God concerning whom Isaias speaks most eloquently in the latter part of his prophecies [Is. 40–66; cf. Acts 3:13, 26; 4:27, 30]; he is moreover the chosen one of God, his beloved, in whom God has been well pleased; finally, he is imbued, or anointed, with the Spirit of God [Is. 11:2; 41:1; Mt. 3:16; Acts 4:27].

Relation of Jesus to the Gentiles. This the evangelist expresses in stating that “he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.” The “Gentiles” need not be the multitudes in the company of Jesus [cf. Schanz], but they are simply “the heathen.” “Judgment” renders the Hebrew מִשְׁפָּט, or the divine rule of right and justice, the law and teaching of God [Euthymius, Theophylact, Thomas Aquinas, Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius, Jansenius, Maldonado]; although in the New Testament the Greek word κρίσις usually signifies “forensic trial” with its sentence and subsequent separation [cf. Weiss, Schanz], it has here evidently the meaning of the Hebrew original [Knabenbauer]. Still, since the divine rule of right and justice contains the principles underlying the divine sentence pronounced in the judgment, and since the separation that will be ratified in the judgment has begun with the appearance of Christ, the word may be said to contain both foregoing ideas [Euthymius, Schegg, Schanz, Fillion].

Character of Jesus. In this part of the prophecy we have the passage that fits exactly into the preceding context, since it is here that the evangelist shows how unfounded and unprovoked were the hostilities of the enemies of Jesus. Still the preceding part of the prophecy and the following is not a mere introduction and rhetorical conclusion to this passage [cf. Schegg], but refers to the whole section [chapters 11, 12], since it represents the hostility against Christ as predicted by the prophet; the rejected Messias is the hope of the Gentiles. “He shall not contend” is neither in the Greek nor in the Hebrew text, unless we explain the Hebrew verb צָעַק as containing both the idea of “contending” and of “crying.” “The bruised reed” and the “smoking flax” represent the Gentiles and the Jews [Hilary, Dionysius], or the Jews and the Gentiles [Bede], or the Jews persecuting Jesus though they might have been destroyed as easily as a bruised reed is broken and as smoking flax is extinguished [Augustine, De civ. dei, xx. 30, n. 4; Cajetan, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius, St Bruno, Jansenius], or they represent those burdened with sin and weak in the faith [cf. Jerome, Faber Stapulensis, Barradas, Salmeron, Sylveira]. Maldonado, sees here the figure of one walking so lightly that his foot would not break a bruised reed, feeble though it be. At any rate, the quiet, humble, and meek behavior of Jesus contrasts vividly with the noisy, proud, and harsh manners of the Pharisees.

Relation of the Gentiles to Jesus. Christ’s humility and meekness will continue till he brings the divine rule of right and justice [Judgment] to its victory all over the earth [Knabenbauer]; this will not happen till the day of the last judgment [Chrysostom, Schanz, St Bruno], when his justice will take its course. The evangelist quotes here the sense of the prophecy rather than its words, for he substitutes the clause “unto victory” for the original “unto truth.” Maldonado, however, thinks that St. Matthew writing in Aramaic used here a word זקות, meaning both “victory” and “truth”; the Greek translator of the gospel rendered this word in its first meaning. In point of fact, the foregoing Aramaic word never means “truth.” Though the evangelist changes two words in the last part of the prophecy, substituting “Gentiles” for “islands” and “name” for “law,” he preserves its substantial meaning. For if “the islands anxiously await his law” [Heb.], they also “hope in his name” [Mt.].

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 12:46-50

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

Mat 12:46  As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.
Mat 12:47  And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.

As he was yet speaking The true disciples. This incident follows according to the third gospel the parable of the sower [Lk. 8:19], and this order is not denied in the first, since our Lord may have been “speaking” that parable [against Augustine, De eons, evang. ii. 40, 87]. St. Matthew has fitted the same into a topical arrangement, wishing to show that in spite of the rejection of the Jews, true disciples will not be wanting, and at the same time that true discipleship does not consist in any bonds of flesh and blood, but in obedience to the will of the Father [Schanz, Knabenbauer]. To effect this, he first tells of the arrival of the carnal brethren of Jesus, vv. 46, 47, and then delineates Christ’s own description of his spiritual brethren.

a. The carnal brethren. The “brethren” of Jesus are James, Joseph [Joses], Simon, and Jude; they are mentioned here and in the parallel passages, Mk. 3:31; Lk. 8:19; again in Mt. 13:55 and its parallel Mk. 6:3; third, in John. 2:12; fourth, in John. 7:3, 5, 10; finally, in Acts. 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19. In no place is Joseph called the father, or Mary the mother, of our Lord’s brethren; in Jn. 7; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19 Mary is not named at all; on the other hand, both the Greek and the Hebrew word for “brother” may mean either a real brother, or a near relative [Gen. 14:16; 13:8; 24:28; 29:12, 15; 1 Sam 20:9; 2 Kings 10:13; etc.; Plato, Phædo, 57; Crito, 16; Xen. Cyr. i. 5]. We have therefore no warrant in Scripture for contending that the foregoing brethren of Jesus are his real brothers according to the flesh, though this is maintained by the rationalists and most Protestant writers [cf. Alford, Farrar, Holtzmann, Michaelis, Kuinoel, Davidson, Greswell, Kitto, Bloomfield, Neander, Herder, etc.; Keil and Mansel are honorable exceptions]. Since the history of the infancy emphasizes the virginity of Mary so clearly, and since our Lord on the cross recommended his mother to John [Jn. 19:26 f.], and since the doctrine of the perpetual virginity has been always part of the tradition of the Church [cf. Jerome, Helvid. De perpet. V. B. Mariæ, tom, ii. p. 119], the relation of the brethren of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin has been always explained so as to preserve her virginity intact: they are the sons of St. Joseph by a former marriage [Epiphanius, Theophylact, Euthymius Nicephorus, Hilary, Ambrose, etc.], or the sons of Cleophas the brother of St. Joseph [Hegesippus ap. Eus. H. E. IV. xxx. 4; Suarez, Lapide, Tir. Patrizi, etc.], or the children of Mary the sister of our Blessed Lady and the wife of Cleophas, so that they are the real cousins of our Lord [cf. Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40; 15:47; 16:1; Jn. 19:25; Jerome, Knabenbauer, etc.]. Jerome rejects the opinion that Joseph had been married before being united to our Blessed Lady as a fable of the apocryphal writings [cf. Evang. Pet.]; and the view has not found favor in the western church. Against the last opinion that the mother of the brethren of Jesus was the sister of our Lady, an explanation of Jn. 19:25 is advanced according to which Mary of Cleophas is distinct from the sister of the mother of Jesus, because it is not probable that two sisters should have the same name; or even if Mary of Cleophas be called our Lady’s sister, the Greek word “sister” may signify also “sister-in-law.” Cf. Kirchenlex. ii. 179 ff.; Cornely, Introd. iii. pp. 595 ff.

We cannot believe that the mother and the brethren of Jesus came for the reason assigned in Mk. 3:21, because it is not probable that “his friends” [οι παρ αυτου Mk. 3:21] are identical with “his mother and his brethren” [Mk. 3:31; cf. Apolin. in cat. Jansenius, Maldonado, Barradas, Sylveira, Calmet, Arnoldi, Bisping, Schegg, Edersheim i. p. 251, Fillion, etc.]. It cannot have been from vanity [Chrysostom, Theophylact], or the desire of stopping the ministry of Jesus [Tertullian], or from anxiety for our Lord’s security [Maldonado, Jansenius], or through a wish for his rest and comfort [Thomas Aquinas, Cajetan, Tolet.], that the brethren and the mother of Jesus came to him; it is safer to confess our ignorance on this point [Knabenbauer]. We need not assume that the arrival of his relatives was announced to Jesus with the purpose of entrapping him [cf. Dionysius, Jansenius, Knabenbauer, against Jerome, Bede, Paschasius, Alb. Faber Stapulensis, Opus Imperfectum].

Mat 12:48  But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?
Mat 12:49  And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.
Mat 12:50  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

But Jesus answering. b. The true brethren of Jesus. Chrysostom, Euthymius, Hilary, Apolin. Theodoret. in cat. Faber Stapulensis, Dionysius, etc. are emphatic in maintaining that Jesus neither denied nor offended his blessed mother by the words of his answer. He had the best reasons for acting as he did; he must give an example of that denial of flesh and blood which is required from his disciples [cf. Lk. 2:49]; he must show that the duties of the ministry are above those of family ties [Hilary]; he must demonstrate that our spiritual ties are more binding than the carnal ones [Bede, Chrysostom, Jerome, Theodoret in cat. Paschasius, Alb. St Bruno, Cajetan]. It is here that Jesus shows most lovingly [cf. Mk. 3:34] who his spiritual relatives are. Since his whole life consisted in doing the will of the Father [cf. Jn. 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:29; Heb. 10:7; Mt. 6:10; Phil. 2:8; Chrysostom], it is not surprising that “whoever shall do the will of my Father … he is my brother.” As the gospel announces a new birth, so it implies a new relationship [cf. Gal. 3:28]. Whoever is born by this new birth is a son of God, a co-heir of Christ, and therefore a brother of Christ [cf. Jn. 1:13; 1 Jn. 3:9; Thomas Aquinas, Alb.]. And since the brother of Christ forms his soul into another Christ [Gal. 4:19; Alb. Dionysius], and often even gains over others to Christ, forming them into so many images of the Master [1 Cor. 4:15; Gal. 4:19; Gregory the Great, hom. in evang. ii. 2; Paschasius, Anselm of Laon, Thomas Aquinas, Alb. Dionysius, Barradas], he may truly be called the mother of Christ. Thus far we have seen that Jesus claims to be lord of the sabbath and the temple, to be above the prophets and the kings of the theocracy; truly, then, he must be the Messias.

 

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 12:46-50

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of Matthew 12 as a whole, followed by his notes on verses 46-50.

ANALYSIS OF MATTHEW CHAPTER 11

In this chapter, we have an account of how our Lord’s disciples, passing through the ripe cornfields, plucked a few ears, to appease hunger, which gives an occasion to the Pharisees to accuse them of violating the Sabbath (1–2). Our Lord vindicates their mode of acting, on several grounds—on the ground of necessity, as illustrated by the conduct of David (4–5); on the ground of their ministering to their Lord, which would justify a material departure from the law, in regard to what would be necessary for that purpose, as in the case of the priests sacrificing on the Sabbath; on the ground of being engaged in acts of the greatest spiritual mercy, which should be preferred to any external observances (6–7); on the ground of being dispensed by Him, the Sovereign Lord of all things (8). He cures a man with a withered hand, and triumphantly vindicates His line of acting, against the malevolence of the Pharisees (9–13). Returning to the sea-side, He performs several cures, and charges the persons cured to say nothing of it; thus, by His meekness and humility, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaias regarding Him (14–21). He cures a deaf and dumb demoniac, and elicits the admiration of the people, which provokes the Pharisees to blasphemy, when charging Him with communication and collusion with Satan (22–24). Our Redeemer, knowing their thoughts on this subject, shows the utter absurdity of charging Him with collusion with Satan. This He shows on several grounds (25–30). He points out the grievous nature of the blasphemy they were guilty of (31–32), the inconsistency of their judgments, their evil dispositions (34–35), and the severe account they were to render one day for their sinful words (36–37). His reply to the Scribes, demanding a still greater proof of His power, and the heavy judgments of condemnation in reserve for them (38–42). He next points out the wretched spiritual condition of the Pharisees, and the misfortunes sure to overtake them. To illustrate this, He applies to them the example of the wretched man, into whom a troop of devils re-enter, after having been before banished from his heart (43–45). We have an account of a message sent Him by His Blessed Mother, and relatives who came from Nazareth to Capharnaum to see Him, and His description of the spiritual relationship, which He most prized, of which His immaculate Mother was the most perfect type and pattern (46–50).

COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 12:46-50

Mat 12:46  As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.

While our Redeemer was addressing the multitudes, His blessed mother, probably desirous of withdrawing her Divine Son from the dangers that encompassed Him, and also of securing for Him some respite from His labours, stood outside, wishing to speak to Him.

“And His brethren,” also, that is, His cousins, who are called “brethren,” according to the custom among the Jews, of calling cousins, by the name of “brethren.” These were, most probably, the children of Mary, the daughter of Cleophas, and the wife of Alpheus. This Mary was cousin to the Blessed Virgin. These came from Nazareth to Capharnaum to see Him.

“Stood without,” as they could not go in and reach Him by reason of the crowd (Luke 8:19). It might be also, that they wished to speak to Him privately, apart from the crowd.

“Seeking to speak to Him.” His relatives, unable to see Him, sent a message to Him (Mark 3:31). They (His relatives) said, “He is become mad” (Mark 3:21). Whether they really thought so, or only affected to think it, in order to withdraw Him from the fury of His enemies, may be disputed. It is quite certain, the Blessed Virgin did not think so; she knew well He was of sound mind. Likely, His “brethren,” concealed from her, their opinions regarding Him, and brought her, by way of respect, to converse more secretly with our Lord. Their design was to force Him away with them to Nazareth.

Mat 12:47  And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.

“Thy brethren.” There is a tradition, that the Blessed Virgin was an only child. Hence, “brethren,” refer to the children of the cousin-german of the Blessed Virgin, viz., Mary Cleophas, the wife of Alpheus.

“And one said unto Him.” St. Mark says, they sent a messenger to Him (3:31).

Mat 12:48  But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?

In asking this question, He does not mean to deny, that He had a real mother, or to imply that He was ashamed of His mother or brethren; but, probably, to check the untimely importunity and interruption of the messenger, and also to show, as St. Ambrose intimates, that He preferred the ministry of His Father to maternal affection. He wished to convey, that He acknowledges no mother, no brother, should they in the least interfere with Him, while doing His Father’s business. (See Luke 2)

Mat 12:49  And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.

Our Redeemer extends the relationship to a higher degree, and takes occasion to give a preference to His spiritual relationship, which He prized more than His natural relationship. In this respect, He prized His blessed mother more than all the rest of creation; because, in a spiritual sense, she was the most perfect and the holiest of God’s creatures.

Mat 12:50  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

In this, His blessed mother is pre-eminently included, as she had, in the most perfect manner, accomplished God’s holy and adorable will. The words, “brother, sister,” &c., show, that in spiritual relationship, there is no distinction of sex; but that all are one, as St. Paul declares (Gal. 3:28).

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St Augustine’s Tractates on John 20:1-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

The following is excerpted from the one hundred twenty and one hundred twenty-first Tractates on the Gospel of St John by St Augustine.

Excerpt from Tractate 120

“And on the first of the week came Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” The first of the week6 is what Christian practice now calls the Lord’s day, because of the resurrection of the Lord.7 “She ran, therefore, and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.” Some of the Greek codices have, “They have taken my Lord,” which may likely enough have been said by the stronger than ordinary affection of love and handmaid relationship; but we have not found it in the several codices to which we have had access.

“Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.” The repetition here is worthy of notice and of commendation for the way in which a return is made to what had previously been omitted, and yet is added just as if it followed in due order. For after having already said, “they came to the sepulchre,” he goes back to tell us how they came, and says, “so they ran both together,” etc. Where he shows that, by outrunning his companion, there came first to the sepulchre that other disciple, by whom he means himself, while he relates all1 as if speaking of another.

“And he stooping down,” he says, “saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen clothes lying, and the napkin, which had been about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but folded up in one place by itself.” Do we suppose these things have no meaning? I can suppose no such thing. But we hasten on to other points, on which we are compelled to linger by the need there is for investigation, or some other kind of obscurity. For in such things as are self-manifest, the inquiry into the meaning even of individual details is, indeed, a subject of holy delight, but only for those who have leisure, which is not the case with us.

“Then went in also that other disciple who had come first to the sepulchre.” He came first, and entered last. This also of a certainty is not without a meaning, but I am without the leisure needful for its explanation. “And he saw, and believed.” Here some, by not giving due attention, suppose that John believed that Jesus had risen again; but there is no indication of this from the words that follow. For what does he mean by immediately adding, “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead”? He could not then have believed that He had risen again, when he did not know that it behoved Him to rise again. What then did he see? what was it that he believed? What but this, that he saw the sepulchre empty, and believed what the woman had said, that He had been taken away from the tomb? “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” Thus also when they heard of it from the Lord Himself, although it was uttered in the plainest terms, yet from their custom of hearing Him speaking by parables, they did not understand, and believed that something else was His meaning. But we shall put off what follows till another discourse.

Excerpt From Tractate 121

MARY MAGDALENE had brought the news to His disciples, Peter and John, that the Lord was taken away from the sepulchre; and they, when they came thither, found only the linen clothes wherewith the body had been shrouded; and what else could they believe but what she had told them, and what she had herself also believed? “Then the disciples went away again unto their own” (home); that is to say, where they were dwelling, and from which they had run to the sepulchre. “But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping.” For while the men returned, the weaker sex was fastened to the place by a stronger affection. And the eyes, which had sought the Lord and had not found Him, had now nothing else to do but weep, deeper in their sorrow that He had been taken away from the sepulchre than that He had been slam on the tree; seeing that in the case even of such a Master, when His living presence was withdrawn from their eyes, His remembrance also had ceased to remain. Such grief, therefore, now kept the woman at the sepulchre. “And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre.” Why she did so I know not. For she was not ignorant that He whom she sought was no longer there, since she had herself also carried word to the disciples that He had been taken from thence; while they, too, had come to the sepulchre, and had sought the Lord’s body, not merely by looking, but also by entering, and had not found it. What then does it mean, that, as she wept, she stooped down, and looked again into the sepulchre? Was it that her grief was so excessive that she hardly thought she could believe either their eyes or her own? Or was it rather by some divine impulse that her mind led her to look within? For look she did, “and saw two angels in white, sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” Why is it that one was sitting at the head, and the other at the feet? Was it, since those who in Greek are called angels are in Latin nuntii [in English, news bearers], that in this way they signified that the gospel of Christ was to be preached from head to foot, from the beginning even to the end? “They say to her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” The angels forbade her tears: for by such a position what else did they announce, but that which in some way or other was a future joy? For they put the question, “Why weepest thou?” as if they had said, Weep not. But she, supposing they had put the question from ignorance, unfolded the cause of her tears. “Because,” she said, “they have taken away my Lord:” calling her Lord’s inanimate body her Lord, meaning a part for the whole; just as all of us acknowledge that Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord, who of course is at once both the Word and soul and flesh, was nevertheless crucified and buried, while it was only His flesh that was laid in the sepulchre. “And I know not,” she added, “where they have laid Him.” This was the greater cause of sorrow, because she knew not where to go to mitigate her grief. But the hour had now come when the joy, in some measure announced by the angels, who forbade her tears, was to succeed the weeping.

Lastly, “when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, If thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master.” Let no one speak ill of the woman because she called the gardener, Sir (domine), and Jesus, Master. For there she was asking, here she was recognizing; there she was showing respect to a person of whom she was asking a favor, here she was recalling the Teacher of whom she was learning to discern things human and divine. She called one lord (sir), whose handmaid she was not, in order by him to get at the Lord to whom she belonged. In one sense, therefore, she used the word Lord when she said, “They have taken away my Lord; and in another, when she said, Sir (lord), if thou hast borne Him hence.” For the prophet also called those lords who were mere men, but in a different sense from Him of whom it is written, “The Lord is His name.”1 But how was it that this woman, who had already turned herself back to see Jesus, when she supposed Him to be the gardener, and was actually talking with Him, is said to have again turned herself, in order to say unto Him “Rabboni,” but just because, when she then turned herself in body, she supposed Him to be what He was not, while now, when turned in heart, she recognized Him to be what He was.

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God.” There are points in these words which we must examine with brevity indeed, but with somewhat more than ordinary attention. For Jesus was giving a lesson in faith to the woman, who had recognized Him as her Master, and called Him so in her reply; and this gardener was sowing in her heart, as in His own garden, the grain of mustard seed. What then is meant by “Touch me not”? And just as if the reason of such a prohibition would be sought, He added, “for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” What does this mean? If, while standing on earth, He is not to be touched, how could He be touched by men when sitting in heaven? For certainly, before He ascended, He presented Himself to the touch of the disciples, when He said, as testified by the evangelist Luke, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have;”2 or when He said to Thomas the disciple, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and put forth thy hand, and thrust it into my side.” And who could be so absurd as to affirm that He was willing indeed to be touched by the disciples before He ascended to the Father, but refused it in the case of women till after His ascension? But no one, even had any the will, was to be allowed to run into such folly. For we read that women also, after His resurrection and before His ascension to the Father, touched Jesus, among whom was Mary Magdalene herself; for it is related by Matthew that Jesus met them, and said, “All hail. And they approached, and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.”3 This was passed over by John, but declared as the truth by Matthew. It remains, therefore, that some sacred mystery must lie concealed in these words; and whether we discover it or utterly fail to do so, yet we ought to be in no doubt as to its actual existence. Accordingly, either the words, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father,” had this meaning, that by this woman the Church of the Gentiles was symbolized, which did not believe on Christ till He had actually ascended to the Father, or that in this way Christ wished Himself to be believed on; in other words, to be touched spiritually, that He and the Father are one. For He has in a manner ascended to the Father, to the inward perception of him who has made such progress in the knowledge of Christ that he acknowledges Him as equal with the Father: in any other way He is not rightly touched, that is to say, in any other way He is not rightly believed on. But Mary might have still so believed as to account Him unequal with the Father, and this certainly is forbidden her by the words, “Touch me not;” that is, Believe not thus on me according to thy present notions; let not your thoughts stretch outwards to what I have been made in thy behalf, without passing beyond to that whereby thou hast thyself been made. For how could it be otherwise than carnally that she still believed on Him whom she was weeping over as a man? “For I am not yet ascended,” He says, “to my Father:” there shalt thou touch me, when thou believest me to be God, in no wise unequal with the Father. “But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father.” He saith not, Our Father: in one sense, therefore, is He mine, in another sense, yours; by nature mine, by grace yours. “And my God, and your God.” Nor did He say here, Our God: here, therefore, also is He in one sense mine, in another sense yours: my God, under whom I also am as man; your God, between whom and you I am mediator.

“Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples, I have seen the Lord, and He hath spoken these things unto me

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 20:1-4, 10-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of John 20, followed by hit notes on verses 1-4 and 10-18.

ANALYSIS OF JOHN CHAPTER 20

In this chapter, we have an account of Magdalen’s arrival at our Lord’s sepulchre, at twilight, on the first day of the week; finding the stone removed, she hastens to inform Peter and John (1, 2). They coming in haste, saw from the linen cloths and bandages that were scattered about, that the Resurrection had taken place. John, in consequence, believed in the Resurrection. After that, they retired to their respective homes (3–11).

Magdalen returning to the sepulchre had a vision of angels. She had, moreover, the ineffable happiness of being met by our Lord Himself, who making Himself known to her, addressed her in consoling language, and instructed her to inform His brethren of it, which she faithfully did (11–18).

Late, on the evening of the same day, after the disciples had returned from Emmaus, our Lord entering the chamber, where the disciples were gathered together, the doors being shut, communicates His peace, imparts the Holy Ghost, and gives power to remit and retain sins. Thomas was absent, this time (19, 23).

The incredulity of Thomas, which our Lord, at His apparition on the eighth day after the Resurrection, mercifully removes, by condescendingly giving Thomas the proofs he desired of our Lord’s real Resurrection (24–28). Thomas’s ardent faith, and profession in our Lord’s Divinity and Humanity (28).

Our Lord’s commendation of the faith of the simple believers (29).

The Evangelist declares his reason for writing this Gospel (30, 31).

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 20:1-4, 10-18

Joh 20:1  And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre: and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

“And on the first day of the week” (see Matthew 28:1), “Mary Magdalen,” accompanied by others, whose names are given by the other Evangelists. Magdalen was the principal among them.

“Cometh early, when it was yet dark”—in the early twilight—“to see the sepulchre,” and anoint the body of Jesus, as we are informed by the other Evangelists (Luke 24:1; Mark 16:1).

“And she saw the stone taken away.” This was done by the angels (Matthew 28), who announced our Lord’s Resurrection (see the other Evangelists). This, however, Magdalen understood not, as appears from the following.

Joh 20:2  She ran therefore and cometh to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre: and we know not where they have laid him.

“She ran, therefore,” etc. She and her companions ran to inform Simon Peter, whom they knew to be constituted by our Lord the head of the Apostolic College.
“And to the other disciple,” etc., whom they naturally supposed to be most solicitous about His Divine Master.

Joh 20:3  Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple: and they came to the sepulchre.
Joh 20:4  And they both ran together: and that other disciple did outrun Peter and came first to the sepulchre.

The other disciple, being younger and more active, outran Peter and arrived first.

Joh 20:10  The disciples therefore departed again to their home.Joh 20:11  But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre.

“They retired to their homes;” Peter, in a state of admiration; John, believing (see 8-9); Magdalen remaining alone at the sepulchre, lovingly anxious to inquire further about what was done with the body of her Lord, whom she so ardently loved—“weeping” over His death, and the loss of His sacred body.

Joh 20:12  And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid.

Although she had already looked into the sepulchre, she did not fail to do so again, out of anxiety, and was favoured with a vision of angels, in reward for her faith and anxiety. Her companions were similarly favoured (Luke 24:4).

Joh 20:13  They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord: and I know not where they have laid him.

“Why weepest thou?” This is no time for weeping, but a time for joy. The reply of Magdalen, “because, they have taken away,” etc., would argue weak and confused ideas regarding our Lord’s Resurrection.

Joh 20:14  When she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing: and she knew not that it was Jesus.

“She turned back and saw Jesus standing.” It may be, as many suppose, that the angels who were before her, showed signs of reverence to our blessed Lord. This made Magdalen look back to see what it meant; or, some noise may have been made, which would cause her to look back.

Joh 20:15  Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, thinking that it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him: and I will take him away.

Our Lord in His glorified body, presented a different appearance from what He had in His mortal state. Here, He had the appearance of one whom she took for the gardener, in charge of the garden in which the holy sepulchre was placed, from His appearing there at such an early hour. At another time, He had the appearance of a stranger; as when He appeared to the Apostles on their way to Emmaus.

“And I will take Him away.” Possibly, Magdalen’s eyes were held, like the disciples at Emmaus, so that she could not know Him (Luke 24:16). The excess of her love makes all things possible. On any other principle, it is hard to see how a feeble, weak woman could speak in such a way. It was the excess of holy love.

“If thou hast taken Him hence.” She is so taken up with the idea of our Lord, that she can think of nothing else. She fancies nobody could think of any one else; that all are entirely engrossed, like herself, with the one great object of love.

Joh 20:16  Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master).

“Mary,” addressing her in His natural, well-known tone of voice.

“Rabboni,” which is understood by some to mean, “my master;” by others, “master, like Rabbi.” It would seem to be a more august and respectful term than Rabbi, applied to our Lord, only after His Resurrection. “She turning.” Likely, as our Lord, whom she took for the gardener, gave her no reply, she turned to the angels to inquire who He was; and, then, on hearing His familiar, well-known tone of voice, she turned to Him. Others understand, “turned,” recovered from the stupor she was in, like Peter (Acts 22:5).

Joh 20:17  Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me: for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.

Possibly, Magdalen on discovering it to be her loving Lord, in an ecstasy of love, made signs (as St. Gregory infers, Hom. 25), of Her desire to embrace His knees and kiss His feet, and reverently adore Him, as was permitted afterwards (Matthew 28:9). Seeing this, or knowing it, our Lord prohibits her from remaining there. He, therefore, tells her to go at once, and announce to the brethren all she saw.

“I am not yet ascended,” etc., as if to say, a sufficiently long interval will elapse before I ascend to My Father; so that you will have time enough to exhibit due reverence to Me in person. Therefore, delay not in enjoying the spiritual delights and pleasures now communicated to you. But go at once, and inform My brethren, that I am, soon after My Resurrection, to “ascend to My Father,” who is your Father also, “to My God,” who is your God also.

This is the common interpretation and connexion of the words, “Do not touch Me.”

Joh 20:18  Mary Magdalen cometh and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord; and these things he said to me.

This was Magdalen’s second journey. In the former, she announced the taking away of the Sacred Body; in this, the glorious tidings of the Resurrection communicated to her by our Lord Himself. The other Evangelists record the two journeys as one. The disciples did not believe Magdalen (Mark 16:1), nor the other women (Luke 24:11).

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 20:1-4, 10-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

Ver 1. The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulcher, and sees the stone taken away from the sepulcher.2. Then she runs, and comes to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and says to them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him. 3. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher.4. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.

CHRYS. The Sabbath being now over, during which it was unlawful to be there, Mary Magdalene could rest no longer, but came very early in the morning, to seek consolation at the grave: The first day of the week comes Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, to the sepulcher.

AUG. Mary Magdalene, undoubtedly the most fervent in love, of all the women that ministered to our Lord; so that John deservedly mentions her only, and says nothing of the others who were with her, as we know from the other Evangelists.

AUG. Una sabbati is the day which Christians call the Lord’s day, after our Lord’s resurrection. Matthew calls it prima sabbati.

BEDE. Una sabbati, i.e. one day after the sabbath.

THEOPHYL. Or thus: The Jews called the days of the week sabbath, and the first day, one of the sabbaths, which day is a type of the life to come; for that life will be one day not cut short by any night, since God is the sun there, a sun which never sets. On this day then our Lord rose again, with an incorruptible body, even as we in the life to come shall put on incorruption.

AUG. What Mark says, Very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun, does not contradict John’s words, when it was yet dark. At the dawn of day, there are yet remains of darkness, which disappear as the light breaks in. We must not understand Mark’s words, Very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun, to mean that the sun was above the horizon, but rather what we ourselves ordinarily mean by the phrase, when we want any thing to be done very early, we say at the rising of the sun, i.e. some time before the sun is risen.

GREG. It is well said, When it was yet dark: Mary was seeking the Creator of all things in the tomb, and because she found Him not, thought He was stolen. Truly it was yet dark when she came to the sepulcher.   And sees the stone taken away from the sepulcher.

AUG. Now took place what Matthew only relates, the earthquake, and rolling away of the stone, and fight of the guards.

CHRYS. Our Lord rose while the stone and seal were still on the sepulcher. But as it was necessary that others should be certified of this, the sepulcher is opened after the resurrection, and so the fact confirmed. This it was which roused Mary. For when she saw the stone taken away, she entered not nor looked in, but ran to the disciples with all the speed of love. But as yet she knew nothing for certain about the resurrection, but thought that His body had been carried off.

GLOSS. And therefore she ran to tell the disciples, that they might seek Him with her, or grieve with her: Then she runs, and comes to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved.

AUG. This is the way in which he usually mentions himself. Jesus loved all, but him in an especial and familiar way. And says to them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him.

GREG. She puts the part for the whole; she had come only to seek for the body of our Lord, and now she laments that our Lord, the whole of Him, is taken away.

AUG. Some of the Greek copies have, taken away my Lord, which is more expressive of love, and of the feeling of an handmaiden. But only a few have this reading.

CHRYS. The Evangelist does not deprive the woman of this praise, nor leaves out from shame, that they had the news first from her. As soon as they hear it, they hasten to the sepulcher.

GREG. But Peter and John before the others, for they loved most; Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher.

THEOPHYL. But how came they to the sepulcher, while the soldiers were guarding it? an easy question to answer. After our Lord’s resurrection and the earthquake, and the appearance of the angel at the sepulcher, the guards withdrew, and told the Pharisees what had happened.

AUG. After saying, came to the sepulcher he goes back and tells us how they came: So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher; meaning himself, but he always speaks of himself, as if he were speaking of another person.

Ver 10. Then the disciples went away again to their own home.11. But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher,12. And sees two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.13. And they say to her, Woman, why weep you? She says to them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.14. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.15. Jesus says to her, Woman, why weep you? whom seek you? She, supposing him to be the gardener, says to him, Sir, if you have borne him from here, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.16. Jesus says to her, Mary. She turned herself, and says to him, Rabboni; which is to say Master.17. Jesus says to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.18. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her.

GREG. Mary Magdalene, who had been the sinner in the city, and who had washed out the spots of her sins by her tears, whose soul burned with love, did not retire from the sepulcher when the others did: Then the disciples went away again to their own home.

AUG. i.e. To the place where they were lodging, and from which they had ran to the sepulcher. But though the men returned, the stronger love of the woman fixed her to the spot. But Mary stood without at the sepulcher weeping.

AUG. i.e. Outside of the place where the stone sepulcher was, but yet within the garden.

CHRYS. Be not astonished that Mary wept for love at the sepulcher, and Peter did not; for the female sex is naturally tender, and inclined to weep.

AUG. The eyes then which had sought our Lord, and found Him not, now wept without interruption; more for grief that our Lord had been removed, than for His death upon the cross. For now even all memorial of Him was taken away.

AUG. She then saw, with the other women, the Angel sitting on the right, on the stone which had been rolled away from the sepulcher, at whose words it was that she looked into the sepulcher.

CHRYS. The sight of the sepulcher itself was some consolation. Nay, behold her, to console herself still more, stooping down, to see the very place where the body lay: And as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher.

GREG. For to have looked once is not enough for love. Love makes one desire to look over and over again.

AUG. In her too great grief she could believe neither her own eyes, nor the disciples. Or was it a divine impulse which caused her to look in?

GREG. She sought the body, and found it not; she persevered in seeking; and so it came to pass that she found. Her longings growing the stronger, the more they were disappointed, at last found and laid hold on their object. For holy longings ever gain strength by delay, did they not, they would not be longings. Mary so loved, that not content with seeing the sepulcher, she stooped down and looked in: let us see the fruit which came of this persevering love: And sees two Angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain,

CHRYS. As her understanding was not so raised as to be able to gather from the napkins the fact of the resurrection, she is given the sight of Angels in bright apparel, who soothe her sorrow

AUG. But why did one sit at the head, the other at the feet? To signify that the glad tidings of Christ’s Gospel was to be delivered from the head to the feet, from the beginning to the end. The Greek word Angel means one who delivers news.

GREG. The Angel sits at the head when the Apostles preach that in the beginning was the Word: he sits, as it were, at the feet, when it is said, The Word was made flesh. By the two Angels too we may understand the two testaments; both of which proclaim alike the incarnation, death, and resurrection of our Lord. The Old seems to sit at the head, the New at the feet.

CHRYS. The Angels who appear say nothing about the resurrection; but by degrees the subject is entered on. First of all they address her compassionately, to prevent her from being overpowered by a spectacle of such extraordinary brightness: And they say to her, Woman, why weep you? The Angels forbade tears, and announced, as it were, the joy that was at hand: Why weep you? As if to say, Weep not.

GREG. The very declarations of Scripture which excite our tears of love, wipe away those very tears, by promising us the sight of our Redeemer again.

AUG. But she, thinking that they wanted to know why she wept, tells them the reason: She says to them, Because they have taken away my Lord. The lifeless body of her Lord, she calls her Lord, putting the part for the whole; just as we confess that Jesus Christ the Son of God was buried, when only His flesh was buried. And I know not where here they hare placed Him: it was a still greater grief, that she did not know where to go to console her grief.

CHRYS. As yet she knew nothing of the resurrection, but thought the body had been taken away.

AUG. Here the Angels must be understood to rise up, for Luke describes them as seen standing.

AUG. The hour was now come, which the Angels announced, when sorrow should be succeeded by joy: And when she had thus said, she turned herself back.

CHRYS. But why, when she is talking to the Angels, and before she has heard any thing from them, does she turn back? It seems to me that while she was speaking, Christ appeared behind her, and that the Angels by their posture, look, and motion, showed that they saw our Lord, and that thus it was that she turned back.

GREG. We must observe that Mary, who as yet doubted our Lord’s resurrection, turned back to see Jesus. By her doubting she turned her back, as it were, upon our Lord. Yet inasmuch as she loved, she saw Him. She loved and doubted: she saw, and did not recognize Him: And saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

CHRYS. To the Angels He appeared as their Lord but not so to c the woman, for the sight coming upon her all at once, would have stupefied her. She was not to be lifted suddenly, but gradually to high things.

GREG. Jesus says to her, Woman, why do you weep? He asks the cause of her grief, to set her longing still more. For the mere mentioning His name whom she sought would inflame her love for Him.

CHRYS. Because He appeared as a common person, she c thought Him the gardener: She, supposing Him to be the gardener, says to Him, Sir, if you have borne Him from here, tell me where you have laid Him, and 1 will take Him away. i.e. If you have taken Him away from fear of the Jews, tell me, and I will take Him again.

THEOPHYL. She was afraid that the Jews might vent their rage even on the lifeless body, and therefore wished to remove it to some secret place.

GREG. Perhaps, however, the woman was right, in believing Jesus to be the gardener. Was not He the spiritual Gardener, who by the power of His love had sown strong seeds of virtue in her breast? But how is it that, as soon as she sees the gardener, as she supposes Him to be, she says without having told Him who it was she was seeking, Sir, if you have borne Him from here? It arises from her love; when one loves a person, one never thinks that any one else can be ignorant of him.

Our Lord, after calling her by the common name of her sex, and not being recognized, calls her by her own name: Jesus says to her, Mary; as if to say, Recognize Him, who recognizes you. Mary, being called by name, recognizes Him; that it was He whom she sought externally, and He who taught her internally to seek. She turned herself, and says to Him, Rabooni; which its to say, Master.

CHRYS. Just as He was sometimes in the midst of the Jews, and they did not know Him till He pleased to make Himself known. But why does she turn herself; when she had turned herself before? It seems to me that when she said, Where you have laid Him, she turned to the Angels, to ask why they were astonished. Then Christ, calling her, discovered Himself by His voice, and made her turn to Him again.
AUG. Or she first turned her body, but thought Him what He was not; now she was turned in heart, and knew who He was. Let no one however blame her, because she called the gardener, Lord, and Jesus, Master. The one was a title of courtesy to a person from whom she was asking a favor; the other of respect to a Teacher from whom she was used to learn to distinguish the divine from the human. The word Lord is used in different senses, when she says, They have taken away my Lord, and when she says, Lord, if you have borne Him away.

GREG The Evangelist does not add what she did upon recognizing Him, but we know from what our Lord said to her: Jesus says to her, Touch Me not. Mary then had tried to embrace His feet, but was not allowed. Why not? The reason follows: For I am not yet ascended to My Father.

AUG. But if standing upon the earth, He is not touched, how shall He be touched sitting in heaven? And did He not before His ascension offer Himself to the touch of the disciples: Handle Me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones? Who can be so absurd as to suppose that He was willing that disciples should touch Him before He ascended to His Father, and unwilling that women should till after Nay, we read of women after the resurrection, and before He ascended to His Father, touching Him, one of whom was Mary Magdalene herself, according to Matthew. Either then Mary here is a type of the Gentile Church, which did not believe in Christ till after His ascension: or the meaning is that Jesus is to be believed in, i.e. spiritually touched, in no other way, but as being one with the Father. He ascends to the Father mystically, as it were, in the mind of him who has so far advanced as to acknowledge that He is equal to the Father. But how could Mary believe in Him otherwise than carnally, when she wept for Him as a man?

AUG. Touch is as it were the end of knowledge and He was unwilling that a soul intent upon Him should have its end, in thinking Him only what He seemed to be.

CHRYS. Mary wished to be as familiar with Christ now, as she was before His Passion; forgetting, in her joy, that His body was made much more holy by its resurrection. So, Touch Me not, He says, to remind her of this, and make her feel awe in talking with Him. For which reason too He no longer keeps company with His disciples, viz. that they might look upon Him with the greater awe. Again, by saying I have not yet ascended, He shows that He is hastening there. And He who was going to depart and live no more with men, ought not to be regarded with the same feeling that He was before: But go to My brethren, and say to them, I ascend to My Father, and you Father; and to My God, and your God.

HILARY. Heretics, among their other impieties, misinterpret these words of our Lord’s, and say, that if His Father is their Father, His God their God, He cannot be God Himself. But though He remained in the form of God, He took upon Him the form of a servant; and Christ says this in the form of a servant to men. And we cannot doubt that in so far as He is man, the Father is His Father in the same sense in which He is of other men, and God His God in like manner. Indeed He begins with saying, Go to My brethren, But God can only have brethren according to the flesh; the Only-Begotten God, being Only-Begotten, is without brethren.

AUG. He does not say, Our Father, but, My Father and your Father: Mine therefore and yours in a different sense; Mine by nature, yours by grace. Nor does He say, Our God, but My God – under Him I am man – and your God; between you and Him I am Mediator.

AUG. She then went away from. the sepulcher, i.e. from that part of the garden before the rock which had been hollowed out, and with her the other women. But these, according to Mark, were seized with trembling and amazement, and said nothing to any man: Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

GREG. So the sin of mankind is buried in the very place whence it came forth. For whereas in Paradise the woman gave the man the deadly fruit, a woman from the sepulcher announced life to men; a woman delivers the message of Him who raises us from the dead, as a woman had delivered the words of the serpent who slew us.

AUG. While she was going with the other women, according to Matthew, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. So we gather that there were two visions of Angels ; and that our Lord too was seen twice once when Mary took Him for the gardener, and again, when He met them by the way, and by this repeating His presence confirmed their faith. And so Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples, not alone, but with the other women whom Luke mentions.

BEDE. Mystically, Mary, which name signifies, mistress, enlightened, enlightener, star of the sea, stands for the Church, which is also Magdalene, i.e. towered, (Magdalene being Greek for tower) as we read in the Psalms, you have been a strong tower for me. In that she announced Christ’s resurrection to the disciples, all, especially those to whom the office of preaching is committed are admonished to be zealous in setting forth to others whatever is revealed from above.

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 20:1-2, 11-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2013

Joh 20:1  And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre: and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

On the first day of the week. Literally, of the Sabbath, the week being called the Sabbath, after its principal day, or the day of the Pasch. (see on Matt 28:1)

Mary Magdalene cometh. The other gospels speak of the other women but she only is mentioned here, as being their leader, and more zealous and active than the rest.

When it was yet dark. In the early dawn (profundo diluculo), says S. Luke. Note here her activity, watchfulness, and ardour. She seeks Christ in the dawn, and hence she is the first to see Him as the rising sun. As S. Ambrose says on the title of Ps. 55, “For the morning undertaking.” This morning undertaking we can ascribe to Mary Magdalene, who went very early in the morning to watch at the tomb, and first greeted the resurrection of the Lord, and as the sunlight grew brighter, she only, and before the rest, recognised the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and as by this morning greeting she rejoiced at the return of daylight, so did she rejoice the more that Christ was raised from the dead, and in her was fulfilled the prophecy, In the evening weeping will tarry (see vulg.) (heaviness may endure for the night, E. V.) but at morning is joy (Ps 30:6).

Unto the sepulchre. To anoint the Body of Jesus, says Nonnus.

She saw the stone taken away. And the Angels, who said that Christ had risen, but the Magdalene did not believe it, and ran to Peter and John, saying, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” See notes on S. Matt 28:8.  S. Jerome remarks (Ep. cl. Hedibiam), Her error was connected with piety—piety in longing to see Him whose Majesty she knew, but her mistake was in what she said.

Joh 20:2  She ran therefore and cometh to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre: and we know not where they have laid him.

She ran therefore and cometh to Simon Peter, as the Chief Apostle, and as designated by Christ as His Vicar and successor, (Matt 16), and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, i.e., S. John, who would be more diligent than the rest in searching for the Body of Christ.

Joh 20:11  But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre,

But Mary stood at the sepulchre without (i.e., outside), weeping. Because she anxiously looked about on every side for the Body of Jesus, as glowing in love for Him, and was beside herself; and not finding Him, wept for grief. “The eyes (says S. Augustine in loc.) who sought, but found Him not, had leisure to weep, and sorrowed more for His being taken from the tomb than that He had died on the Cross, because not even a memorial remained of so great a Teacher, whose life had been taken away.”

Now as she was weeping, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. Though she looked in before and saw that the sepulchre was empty. For, as says S. Gregory (in loc.), “A single look suffices not one who loves. The power of love increases the earnestness of the inquiry: she persevered in seeking, and accordingly she found. And so it was that her desires expanded and increased, and could thus take in that which they found.”

Joh 20:12  And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid.

And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. All these were tokens of His glorious Resurrection, and prepared the mind of the Magdalene to believe it. One sat at the head and the other at the feet, to signify that the whole Body of Christ had risen, and that, by assuming the immortal form and glory of angels, He had entered into their company, and had left these two angels, as guardians of the tomb, to announce the fact to the Magdalene.

Origen says that, mystically, the angel at the feet represented the active, the angel at the head the contemplative, life. For they are both of them from Jesus, about Jesus, through Jesus, and on account of Jesus.

Joh 20:13  They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord: and I know not where they have laid him.

They say to her, Woman, why weepest thou? This is no place for weeping, but rather for rejoicing, and being glad. Because thou seest not here the dead Body of thy Beloved One, thou oughtest to infer that Jesus has risen, and is no longer among the dead, but among the living; and more than this, that He is passing a blessed and heavenly life among the glorious angels, such as we are ourselves.

She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord: and I know not where they have laid him. I weep for three reasons. (1.) Because of the ignominious death of my Lord. (2.) Because His Body has been taken away, for if I saw It, I should kiss It, lament over It, and anoint It. (3.) Because I do not know where to look for It. For did I know, I should haste to the spot, embrace It, and overwhelm It with kisses. See here how Jesus suffers the souls of those that love Him to remain in ignorance for a while, in order to sharpen and enkindle their desire for Him; and when it is thus sharpened and enkindled, to comfort and make them glad with the full revelation of Himself.

Joh 20:14  When she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing: and she knew not that it was Jesus.

When she had thus said, she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing: and she knew not that it was Jesus. Christ appeared behind the Magdalene, so that the angels who beheld Him rose up and bowed their heads, and exhibited other tokens of reverence and adoration towards Him. And this was why she turned about, viz., to see who it was whom the angels saluted so reverently. So S, Chrysostom (Hom. 85), and the author of the Quæst. ad Antioch (Quest. lxxviii.), [Pseudo-Athanasian]. Some think that Christ made a noise with His feet to attract her attention. I would suggest that she turned back to the tomb, it being the focal point of her mourning since it was the last place she had seen her Lord (DB).

And saw Jesus. “The first to share the joy: as loving more than all.”

She knew not that it was Jesus. As appearing in the form of the gardener. Just as He appeared in the form of a stranger at Emmaus. For glorified bodies can put on any appearance they please, not by changing their own appearance, but by presenting only a refracted appearance to the sight of others. Christ did this, in order that she should not be startled. He appeared to her in consequence of her intense love to Him. But because she did not believe that He was alive, He veiled Himself from her, and presented Himself to her outward sight as the person she fancied Him to be. So S. Gregory (Hom. xxiii.), speaking of the disciples at Emmaus. John had previously mentioned that there was in the place where he was crucified a garden: and in the garden a new sepulchre (Jn 19:41). This fact, coupled with Mary’s assumption that he was the “gardener” suggests to some commentators a connection with Adam (DB).

Joh 20:15  Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, thinking that it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him: and I will take him away.

Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? S. Ambrose (Lib. iii. de Virg.) explains the whole passage minutely: “Woman, why weepest thou? He who believeth not is a woman; for he that believes rises up into the ‘perfect man, into the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.’ It is a reproach not on her sex, but on her slowness of belief. It is well said a woman hesitated, though a virgin had already believed. Why weepest thou? Thou thyself art in fault, as being incredulous. Dost thou weep because thou seest not Christ? Believe, and thou wilt see Him. Christ is close by thee, He never fails those that seek Him. Thou shouldest not weep, but have ready faith, as God requires. Think not of mortal things, and thou wilt not sorrow; think not of perishing things, and thou wilt have no cause for weeping. Thou weepest for that, at which others are glad. Whom seekest thou? seest thou not that Christ is at thy side?”

Origen wrote a striking Homily, and one full of devout feelings, respecting the Magdalene,** in which he says, among other things, “Love made her stand there, and sorrow caused her to weep. She stood and looked around, if perchance she could see Him whom she loved. She wept, as thinking that He whom she was looking for, had been taken away. Her grief was renewed, because at first she sorrowed for Him as dead, and now she was sorrowing for Him as having been taken away. And this last sorrow was the greater because she had no consolation.” And then he proceeds to lay open the sources of her sorrow, saying, “Peter and John were afraid, and therefore did not remain. But Mary feared not, because she felt that there was nothing left for her to fear. She had lost her Master, whom she loved with such singular affection, that she could not love or set her hopes on anything but Him. She had lost the life of her soul, and now she thought it would be better for her to die than to live, for she might perchance thus find Him when dead, whom she could not find while she lived. ‘Love is strong as death.’ What else could death do in her case? She was lifeless, she was insensible: feeling she felt not, seeing she saw not, hearing she heard not. And she was not really there, even where she seemed to be. Her whole thoughts were with her Master, and yet she knew not where He was. I seek not for the angels, who do but increase, and not remove my grief, but I seek my own Lord, and the Lord of angels.” And after a few more bursts of glowing and holy affections, he adds, “I am straitened on every side, I know not what to choose. If I remain by the tomb, I find Him not; if I retire from it, I know not where to go, or where to seek for Him: hapless that I am. To leave the tomb is death to me, to remain by it is irremediable sorrow. But it is better for me to keep watch over His tomb, than to go far away from it. For perhaps when I return, I shall find that He has been taken away, and His sepulchre destroyed. I will therefore remain here and die, that at least I may be buried by the sepulchre of my Lord. Return, my beloved one,—return, the loved one of my vows.” He then adds, “Why, Beloved Master, dost Thou trouble the spirit of this woman? Why dost Thou distress her mind? She depends entirely on Thee, she abides entirely on Thee, she hopes solely on Thee, and utterly despairs of herself. She seeks Thee, as seeking or thinking of no one besides. And perhaps she does not recognise Thee because she is not in her right mind, but quite beside herself for Thy sake. Why then dost Thou say, ‘Why weepest thou-whom seekest thou?’”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him. Because, as Theophylact and Euthymius say, “He was meanly dressed, and because He seemed from His dress to be at home there. She knew that Joseph of Arimathæa did not live there, and supposed that He was the person left in charge of the garden. So F. Lucas. [Pseudo]-Origen proceeds, “0 Mary, if thou art seeking for Jesus, why dost thou not recognise Him? And if thou dost recognise Him, why art thou seeking for Him? Behold Jesus cometh to thee, and He whom thou seekest asketh of thee, ‘Woman, why weepest thou?’ And thou supposest Him to be the gardener, as not knowing Him. For indeed Jesus is also the Gardener, as sowing the good seed in the garden of thy heart, and in the hearts of His faithful servants.” Whence S. Gregory (in loc.), “Is He not the Gardener who planted in her breast, through His love, the flourishing seeds of virtues?”

Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him: and I will take him away. She does not say “Whom,” but means Jesus, of Whom her heart was full.  S. Thomas and others say, that this is the feeling of those who are deeply in love. They suppose that others are thinking about the same person as themselves. Although she might have thought that He knew the answer she had already given to the angels, They have taken away my Lord, &c., as S. Chrysostom seems to indicate. [Pseudo]-Origen remarks, “Such great grief for Thy death had overwhelmed her, that she could not think of Thy resurrection. Joseph placed Thy body in the tomb, and Mary also buried her spirit there, and so indissolubly united it as it were to Thy body, that she could more easily separate her soul from the body which it animated, than she could separate her soul from Thy dead body, for which she was seeking. For the spirit of Mary was more in Thy body than in her own; and in seeking for Thy body she was at the same time seeking for her own spirit, and where she lost Thy body she lost also her own spirit. What wonder then she had no sense, since she had lost her spirit? What wonder if she knew Thee not, as not having the spirit wherewith to know Thee? Give her back then her spirit, I mean Thy body, and she will then regain her senses and abandon her error.”

And I will take Him away—”What if He is in the High Priest’s palace? What if He is in Pilate’s house? Yes, I will take Him away. Love conquers everything. It counts impossibilities as possible, nay, as easy.” So [Pseudo]-Origen and S. Chrysostom. Though S. Jerome (Quæst. v. ad Hedib.) regards them as the words of ignorance and want of consideration.

Joh 20:16  Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master).

He called her not merely by her own name, but with that tone of voice, that sweetness, grace, and efficacy, with which He used to speak to her; and she at once recognised Him. Whence [Pseudo]-Origen, wondering at the condescension of Christ, exclaims, “0 the change of this right hand of the most High (Ps 77:10). My great grief is turned into great joy; the tears of sorrow are changed into the tears of love. When she beard the word ‘Mary’ (for thus He used to address her), she perceived a wondrous sweetness in the name, and knew that He who called her was her Master. Her spirit then revived and her senses returned, and when He wished to add something more, she could not wait, but from excess of joy she interrupted Him, saying, Rabboni. For she thought that having found the ‘Word’ she did not require a single word more, and she deemed it more profitable to touch the ‘Word’ than to hear any words whatever. 0 vehement and impatient love! It was not enough for her to see Jesus and to talk with Him; unless she also touched Him, for she knew that virtue went out from Him, and healed all.”

She turning. For when He was slow in answering, she had looked away from Him towards the angels, as if to ask them who was this gardener who was talking with her, and why they stood up and greeted Him with such reverence? But when she heard Jesus addressing her by name, and recognised His voice, she was enraptured with joy, and at once looked straight towards Him. The voice of the Shepherd reaching the ears of the lamb, at once opened her eyes, and soothed all her senses with its secret power and wonted sweetness; and so carried her away out of herself, that she at once was carried away with unhoped-for and inexplicable joy, and cried out “Rabboni,” my Master. I, as Thy disciple, Thy spiritual daughter, give myself wholly to Thee. In Thee who hast risen, I myself live again, I exult and rejoice. So S. Cyril, Chrysostom, and others. And accordingly she fell down at His knees, and wished, as she was wont, reverently to touch His head and His feet, and cover them with kisses. Just as the Shunammite embraces the feet of Eliseus the prophet (2 Kings 4:27). This is plain from Christ’s instant prohibition.

Rabboni. This was a word of greater reverence than Rabbi, and was used by the Magdalene only after His Resurrection. [But see Mark 10:51.]

Joh 20:17  Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me: for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.

 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me: for I am not yet ascended to my Father, &c. This is a difficult passage, and the connection between the two parts is even more difficult. (1.)  S. Augustine explains the connection thus, “Touch Me not, for as yet thou art not worthy to touch Me; for in thy thoughts regarding Me, I have not as yet ascended to My Father, for as yet thou dost not perfectly believe that I am the Son of God, and that I ascend to My Father.” And S. Jerome (Quæst. v. ad Hedibiam) explains it much in the same way. But this is a mystical rather than a literal explanation. As also is that of S. Leontius (Serm. ii. de Ascens.), “I do not wish you to approach Me bodily, or recognise Me with thy bodily senses. I reserve thee for higher things. I am preparing for thee greater things. When I shall have ascended to My Father, then wilt thou touch Me more perfectly and truly, for thou wilt comprehend that which thou touchest not, and believe that which thou seest not.” (2.) S. Cyril (Lib. xii. cap. i.) says, ” He forbade her to touch Him, to signify that no one ought to approach His glorified Body, which was soon to be touched and received in the Eucharist, before receiving the Holy Spirit, which He had not yet sent.” But, on this ground neither would the other women, or Thomas, or the rest have been able to touch Him—which yet they did. (3.) S. Chrysostom (in loc.), Theophylact, and Euthymius say that He forbade her to touch Him, because He wished to be touched with greater reverence than heretofore: since He would not henceforth hold converse with men, but with angels and blessed spirits. But it does not appear that the Magdalene failed in reverence. And after all, what connection has this with the reason given, “I have not yet ascended to My Father”? (4.) [Pseudo]-Justin (Quæst. a Gentibus, propos. xlvii.), and after him Toletus and others, explain it thus: Touch Me not: for I am shortly about to ascend to heaven, and I wish to withdraw you gradually from My accustomed presence. Therefore, says [Pseudo]-Justin, “He did not constantly show Himself to His disciples after His Resurrection, nor yet withdraw Himself entirely from their sight, so that He was seen, and yet not seen.” But this explanation is not clear, and requires many things to be supplied, besides misinterpreting the reason given. (5.) The best explanation is this, “Do not waste any more time in thus touching Me. Go and bear the glad tidings of My Resurrection to My disciples at once. I do not just yet ascend into heaven. You will have ample time before then to touch and converse with Me.” (See Suarez, par. iii. Disput. xlix. § 3, Ribera (in loc.), and others.) Christ afterwards allowed Himself to be touched by her and the other women, because they were then on their way to tell the Apostles that He had risen. (Matt28:9.)

1. It is said that Christ when speaking these words touched the forehead of the Magdalene, and that Sylvester Prieras saw those marks when her tomb was opened in 1497 (see Surius, in Vita S. M. Magdalenæ). 2.  S. Epiphanius (Her. xxvi) gives a moral reason, viz., that Christ did not wish to be touched by any woman, except in the presence of others; an example followed by SS. Augustine and Ambrose, S. Martin, S. Chrysostom, S. Charles Borromeo, and others. 3. Rupertus gives an allegorical reason. Mary, he says, here represented the Gentile Church which was to come to Christ, not by corporal but by spiritual contact, after His Ascension. See also Chrysostom, Serm. lxxv

It is most probable, as S. Augustine (de Consen. Evang. iii. 24), Theophylact, and Euthymius (in cap. ult. Matt.), and S. Jerome (Epist. ad Hedibiam, Quæst. v.) say, that Mary hastened away, and came up with the other women who went away with Peter and John, and that she then saw Christ again when He appeared to them all; that she then touched His feet, and adored Him (see Matt 28:9). But Toletus says it was not so.

Tropologically: Hence learn that it is more acceptable to Christ to comfort those who are in any affliction, than to look only to one’s self. So that when necessity, or piety or charity require it, it is allowable to postpone the Sermon, or even Mass, on a Feast day, for the purpose of aiding the sick and suffering. See notes on Matt 9:13.

Symbolically: S. Bernard (Serm. v. in Fest. Omn. Sanct.) says, “This is a word of glory, ‘A wise son is the glory of his father.’ Touch Me not then, says the Glory. Seek not glory as yet, rather avoid it. And touch Me not till we come to the Father, where all our glorying is secure.”

But go to My brethren. He calls them “Brethren” out of His wondrous condescension, being, as He is, not only as God but also as man, the Head and Lord of all. For all men are brethren as descended from Adam, and as the sons of God by grace. But the term properly applies to them as Apostles. And Christ was an Apostle, as being sent by God, and He associated with Him in His office Peter and the rest. The Pontiff calls in like manner the Cardinals and Bishops his brethren, though he is their superior. Christ speaks of them in this way to inspire them with courage, as though He said, Though they have forsaken Me, yet I do not forsake them; and by taking on Me the nature of man on rising again, I will show Myself to be their Brother.

And say to them, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God. Remind them of what I said to them before My Passion, that after a few days I should ascend to God the Father.

He says, “My Father and your Father,” Mine by nature, yours by grace, as S. Augustine says, to show that they had in common God as their Father. He as His Father by nature, they by adoption. So S.. Ambrose (de Virginitate). Moreover, S. Hilary (de Trinit., Book xi.), “He is His Father, as of all others, in respect of His human nature; and God, as He is the God of all men, in that nature in which He is a servant for God the Only Begotten is without brethren.” But it is simpler to say that He called Him “My Father,” to designate His own Divine Nature, and “My God” to set forth the human nature He had assumed, and that thus He was Very God, and very man. So S. Ambrose (ut supra), referring to Heb 2:11.

It means then, Tell the Apostles to banish their fear and sorrow, for I have risen from the dead, and love them as brethren, and therefore shall soon ascend to heaven, to prepare a place for them, that they may follow Me thither, and that I may send them the Holy Spirit from thence, to make them resolute preachers of My Gospel.

Joh 20:18  Mary Magdalen cometh and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord; and these things he said to me.

She thus became an apostle and evangelist to the Apostles. And accordingly, when she was driven into exile by the Jews, and arrived at Marseilles, she preached the gospel to the people there. And she fully deserved this honour, by her glowing love to Christ, her faith and constancy, which led her to the sepulchre by herself at early dawn, where she waited patiently till she saw her Jesus.

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