Thursday, 26 March 2015

John 20: 1-10

Chapter 20 of St John's Gospel is about the announcement of the Resurrection.  This part of the testimony of the Gospel is surely the most critical, for as St Paul points out, if the Resurrection is not true, our faith is in vain.  Yet the gradual unveiling of events, and the disciples' mourning, confusion and disbelief surely makes this account all the more convincing.

In this section of the chapter, the apostles are confronted with the empty tomb, but falsely conclude that the authorities have stolen away Jesus' body.

The text

The New Advent page provides the Greek, Latin and Knox English in a parallel text version.  You can listen to the Latin here  and the Greek here.  Here is the Latin:

Una autem sabbati, Maria Magdalene venit mane, cum adhuc tenebræ essent, ad monumentum: et vidit lapidem sublatum a monumento. 2 Cucurrit ergo, et venit ad Simonem Petrum, et ad alium discipulum, quem amabat Jesus, et dicit illis: Tulerunt Dominum de monumento, et nescimus ubi posuerunt eum. 3 Exiit ergo Petrus, et ille alius discipulus, et venerunt ad monumentum. 4 Currebant autem duo simul, et ille alius discipulus præcucurrit citius Petro, et venit primus ad monumentum. 5 Et cum se inclinasset, vidit posita linteamina: non tamen introivit. 6 Venit ergo Simon Petrus sequens eum, et introivit in monumentum, et vidit linteamina posita, 7 et sudarium, quod fuerat super caput ejus, non cum linteaminibus positum, sed separatim involutum in unum locum. 8 Tunc ergo introivit et ille discipulus qui venerat primus ad monumentum: et vidit, et credidit: 9 nondum enim sciebant Scripturam, quia oportebat eum a mortuis resurgere. 10. Abierunt ergo iterum discipuli ad semetipsos.


The Douay-Rheims:

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. [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. [3] Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. [4] And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. [5] And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in.[6] Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, [7] And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. [8] Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed. [9] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. [10] The disciples therefore departed again to their home.

Commentary

The Catena Aurea's commentaries highlight St Mary Magdalene's great love and fervour, and role as 'apostle to the apostles':

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. 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.


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.

St Gregory explains the mystical meaning of the text:

GREG. But this account of the Evangelist must not be thought to be without some mystical meaning. By John, the younger of the two, the synagogue; by Peter, the elder, the Gentile Church is represented: for as though the synagogue was before the Gentile Church as regards the worship of God, as regards time the Gentile world was before the synagogue. They ran together, because the Gentile world ran side by side with the synagogue from first to last, in respect of purity and community of life, though a purity and community of understanding they had not.

The synagogue came first to the sepulcher, but entered not: it knew the commandments of the law, and had heard the prophecies of our Lord's incarnation and death, but would not believe in Him who died. Then comes Simon Peter, and entered into the sepulcher: the Gentile Church both knew Jesus Christ as dead man, and believed in Him as living God. The napkin about our Lord's head is not found with the linen clothes, i.e. God, the Head of Christ, and the incomprehensible mysteries of the Godhead are removed from our poor knowledge; His power transcends the nature of the creature. And it is found not only apart, but also wrapped together; because of the linen wrapped together, neither beginning nor end is seen; and the height of the Divine nature had neither beginning nor end. And it is into one place: for where there is division, God is not; and they merit His grace, who do not occasion scandal by dividing themselves into sects.


But as a napkin is what is used in laboring to wipe the sweat of the brow, by the napkin here we may understand the labor of God: which napkin is found apart, because the suffering of our Redeemer is far removed from ours; inasmuch as He suffered innocently, that which we suffer justly; He submitted Himself to death voluntarily, we by necessity. But after Peter entered, John entered too; for at the end of the world even Judea shall be gathered in to the true faith.


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