Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene – John 20:17

17 Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. . . .

Augustine: 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? {Luke 24″39] . . . 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?

Chrysostom: 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 shews 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.

17 . . . But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.

Augustine: 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.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. IV (London: Rivington, 1845).

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