Lectio notes: John 20:11-18



At the end of the last section, the Apostles, having viewed the empty sepulchre but without understanding what it meant, departed the scene. Mary Magdalene, however, remained behind.

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:

11 Maria autem stabat ad monumentum foris, plorans. Dum ergo fleret, inclinavit se, et prospexit in monumentum: 12 et vidit duos angelos in albis sedentes, unum ad caput, et unum ad pedes, ubi positum fuerat corpus Jesu. 13 Dicunt ei illi: Mulier, quid ploras? Dicit eis: Quia tulerunt Dominum meum: et nescio ubi posuerunt eum. 14 Hæc cum dixisset, conversa est retrorsum, et vidit Jesum stantem: et non sciebat quia Jesus est. 15 Dicit ei Jesus: Mulier, quid ploras? quem quæris? Illa existimans quia hortulanus esset, dicit ei: Domine, si tu sustulisti eum, dicito mihi ubi posuisti eum, et ego eum tollam. 16 Dicit ei Jesus: Maria. Conversa illa, dicit ei: Rabboni (quod dicitur Magister). 17 Dicit ei Jesus: Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum: vade autem ad fratres meos, et dic eis: Ascendo ad Patrem meum, et Patrem vestrum, Deum meum, et Deum vestrum.18 Venit Maria Magdalene annuntians discipulis: Quia vidi Dominum, et hæc dixit mihi.


Douay-Rheims:

[11] But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, [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. [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. [14] When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking 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. [16] Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). [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 your God. [18] Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.

Commentaries

From the Catena Aurea:

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

The significance of the angels:

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.

Noli me tangere:

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.

Apostle to the apostles:

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.

No comments: