Commentary on John 20:1-9

John 20:1-9 Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb. She runneth, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid Him. Peter therefore went forth, and the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. And they ran both together: and the other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths lying; yet entered he not in. Simon Peter therefore cometh, following him, and entered into the tomb; and he beholdeth the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, that was upon His Head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then entered in therefore the other disciple also, which came first to the tomb, and he saw and believed. For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.

This excellent and pious woman would never have endured to remain at home and leave the sepulchre, had not her fear of the law for the Sabbath, and the penalty which impended upon those who transgressed it, curbed the vehemence of her zeal, and had she not, allowing ancient custom to prevail, thought she ought to withdraw her thoughts from the object of her most earnest longings. But, when the Sabbath was already past, and the dawn of the next day was appearing, she hurried back to the spot, and then, when she saw the stone rolled away from the mouth of the tomb, well-grounded suspicions seized her mind, and, calling to mind the ceaseless hatred of the Jews, she thought that Jesus had been carried away, accusing them of this crime in addition to their other misdeeds. While she was thus engaged, and revolving in her mind the probabilities of the case, the woman returned to the men who loved the Lord, anxious to obtain the co-operation of the most intimate of His disciples in her quest. And so deep-rooted and impregnable was her faith that she was not induced to esteem Christ less highly because of His death upon the cross, but even when He was dead called Him Lord, as she had been wont to do, thereby showing a truly God-loving spirit. When these men (I mean Peter, and John the writer of this book, for he gives himself the name of the other disciple) heard these tidings from the woman's mouth, they ran with all the speed they could, and came to the sepulchre in haste, and saw the marvel with their own eyes, being in themselves competent to testify to the event, for they were two in number, as the Law enjoined. As yet they did not meet Christ risen from the dead, but infer His Resurrection from the bundle of linen clothes, and henceforth believed that He had burst asunder the bonds of death, as Holy Writ had long ago proclaimed that He would do. When, therefore, they looked at the issues of events in the light of the prophecies which turned out true, their faith was henceforth rooted on a firm basis.

Commentary on John 20:17 – Why couldn’t Mary touch our Lord?

John 20:17 – Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto My Father.

The meaning of this saying is not easily understood by the vulgar, for a mystery underlies it; but we must probe it for our advantage. For the Lord will vouchsafe unto us the knowledge of His own Words. For He repulses the woman as she was running up to Him, and though she longed to embrace His Feet, He suffered her not; and, in explanation of His reason for so doing, said: For I am not yet ascended unto My Father. Continue reading Commentary on John 20:17 – Why couldn’t Mary touch our Lord?

Commentary on John 21:15-17 – Jesus restores Peter / Why the thrice ‘Amen’ in Baptism?

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Peter started to reach Jesus before the rest, disdaining, as it appears, to go by boat, because of the incomparable fervour and admirable zeal of his love towards Christ. Therefore He comes first to land, and draws up the net; for he was always an impressionable man, easily excited to enthusiasm both in speech and action. Therefore, also, he first made confession of faith when the Saviour put to them the inquiry in the parts of Caesarea Philippi, saying: Who do men say that I the Son of Man am? And of the other disciples some said Elijah, and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But when Christ put the further question to them: But Who say ye that I am? Peter took the lead, and becoming spokesman for the rest, hastened to reply: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Continue reading Commentary on John 21:15-17 – Jesus restores Peter / Why the thrice ‘Amen’ in Baptism?

Contemplation on the 1st hour of the Eve of Tuesday (1)

Why is the door narrow and why is the path so broad?

Whoever enters must have, among everything, an upright and uncorrupted faith. Second, he must have a spotless morality, in which there is no possibility of blame, according to the measure of human righteousness…Nevertheless those who live in a holy manner cannot do so without labor. For constantly, so to speak, the pathway that leads to virtue is rugged and steep, and is difficult for most men to walk on. For labors spring before us and we need strength, patience, and good conduct…[The broad path] means an unrestrained tendancy to carnal lusts; a base and pleasure loving life; luxurious feasts, parties and banquets; and unrestrained inclinations to everything which is condemned by the law and displeasing to God…Those who enter by the narrow gate must withdraw from all these things in order to be with Christ and feast with Him.

Commentary on John 20:28 – Thomas’ confession

28 Thomas answered Him, and saith unto Him, My Lord and my God.

He that had shortly before been slack in the duty of faith was now eager to profess it. and in a short time his fault was wholly cured. For after an interval of only eight days the hindrances to his faith were removed by Christ, Who showed unto him the print of the nails and His wounded Side. But, perhaps, someone will ask the question: “Tell me why did the minds of the holy disciples carry out so rigid an inquiry, and so careful a scrutiny? For would not the sight of the Lord’s Body, the features of His Face, and the measure of His Stature, have sufficed to prove that He had indeed risen from the dead, and to secure His recognition?” What do we reply? The inspired disciples were not free from doubt, although they had seen the Lord. Continue reading Commentary on John 20:28 – Thomas’ confession

Contemplation on the Liturgy of the Eucharist (1)

The experience of the Eucharist

When we eat the holy body of Christ, our Savior of us all, and drink of His precious blood, we thus obtain the life in us, for we become as if we are one with Himl we dwell in Him, and He too reigns in us. Do not doubt, for this is true, since He is the One who says it clearly, This is My flesh, this is My blood.” (John 6) Rather, accept the word of the Savior in fath, for He is the Truth, who can never lie.

Contemplation on the 11th hour of the Eve of Great Friday (2)

His sufferings

This is clearly a reflection of the holy prophet's words, "Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate," says the Lord." (Jer 2:12) The one true God, the King of kings and Lord or lords. He was dishonored by us: first He endured blows, and then he endured laughter from the sinful, demonstrating the highest patience yet presented to us. How can the One who "examines the heart and mind" the One who illuminated the prophets, not know "who strikes You?" 

Commentary on John 20:19-20 – Jesus’ appearance to the disciples

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John 20:19-20 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when He had said this, He showed unto them His Hands and His Side.

On the selfsame day on which He had appeared unto Mary, and discoursed with her, He also showed Himself to the holy disciples, who dreaded the intolerable attacks of the impious Jews, and were, on that account, collected together in a certain house. For it was not likely that they who had been so instructed, and had often been bidden to make haste to escape from the wrath of their would-be murderers, would be found lacking in proper prudence. Christ miraculously appears unto them. Continue reading Commentary on John 20:19-20 – Jesus’ appearance to the disciples

One For All

For one lamb died for all, bringing the whole flock on earth back safely to God the Father; one for all, that He might bring all under subjection to God, one for all, that He may gain them all; “that for the future they might all no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose for them. For when we were guilty of many sins, and for that reason were liable to death and destruction, the Father gave a ransom for us, one for all, since all things are in Him, and He is greater than all. One died for all, Death devoured the Lamb on behalf of all, and then vomited all in him, and with him. For we were all in Christ, who died and rose again on our account, and on our behalf. And when sin has been annihilated, then death, of which sin is the source and cause, must needs be annihilated too.

Palm Sunday

He rides on a donkey and a young colt; not a chariot. You have a unique sign of the King who came. Jesus was the only king Who sat upon an unyoked foal, entering into Jerusalem with acclamations as a king. And when this king comes, what does He do??He sits upon a foal to give us a sign, where the King that enters shall stand. And He gives this sign not far from the city, that it may not be unknown to us. He gave a sign plain before our eyes, so that even if we are in the city, we may behold the place of the King. And the prophet again makes answer saying: ?And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east?? (Zech. 14:4) Does any one standing within the city fail to behold the place?