Easter Vigil – Matt 28:1

1 And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.

Bede: The women returning from the sepulchre prepared spices and ointments as long as it was lawful to work; on the sabbath they rested, according to the commandment, as Luke plainly declares [Luke 23:56]; and when the Sabbath was past and the evening was come, and the season of labour returned, with zealous devotion they proceeded to purchase such spices as they yet lacked, (this is implied in Mark’s words, “when the sabbath was past” [Mark 16:1]), that they might go and anoint Jesus, for which purpose they come early in the morning to the sepulchre.

From the beginning of the creation of the world until now, the course of time has followed this arrangement, that the day should go before the night, because man, fallen by sin from the light of paradise, has sunk into the darkness and misery of this world. But now most fitly night goes before day, when, through faith in the resurrection, we are brought back from the darkness of sin and the shadow of death to the light of life, by the bounty of Christ.

Chrysologus: Late runs woman for pardon, who had run early to sin; in paradise she had taken up unbelief, from the sepulchre she hastes to take up faith; she now hastens to snatch life from death, who had before snatched death from life.

Mary is the name of Christ’s mother; and one name is twice repeated for two women, because herein is figured the Church coming out of the two nations, the Gentiles and the Jews, and being yet one. Mary came to the sepulchre, as to the womb of the resurrection, that Christ might be the second time born out of the sepulchre of faith, who after the flesh had been born of her womb; and that as a virgin had borne Him into this life present, so a sealed sepulchre might bring Him forth into life eternal. It is proof of Deity to have left a womb virgin after birth, and no less to have come forth in the body from a closed sepulchre.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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