2 . . . For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.
Bede: Forasmuch as Christ is both God and man, therefore there lack not amidst the acts of His humanity the ministrations of Angels, due to Him as God. “And came and rolled back the stone;” not to open the door for the Lord to come forth, but to give evidence to men that He was already come forth. For He who as mortal had power to enter the world through the closed womb of a Virgin, He when become immortal, was able to depart out of the world by rising from a sealed sepulchre.
Remigius: The rolling back of the stone signifies the opening of Christ’s sacraments, which were covered by the letter of the Law. For the Law having been written on stones, is here denoted by the stone.
Chrysologus: He said not rolled, but “rolled back;” because the rolling to of the stone was a proof of death; the rolling it back asserted the resurrection. The order of things is changed; The Tomb devours death, and not the dead; the house of death becomes the mansion of life; a new law is imposed upon it, it receives a dead, and renders up a living, man.
He sat down, who was incapable of weariness; but sat as a teacher of the faith, a master of the Resurrection; upon the stone, that the firmness of his seat might assure the stedfastness of the believers; the Angel rested the foundations of the Faith upon that rock, on which Christ was to found His Church.
Or, by the stone of the sepulchre may be denoted death, under which we all lay; and by the Angel sitting thereon, is shewn that Christ hath by His might subdued death.
Bede: The Herald of the Resurrection is related to have been seated, to shew that now He had overcome him that had the power of death, He had mounted the throne of the everlasting kingdom. He sate upon the stone, now rolled back, wherewith the mouth of the sepulchre had been closed, to teach that He by His might had burst the bonds of the tomb.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).