Commentaries for Upcoming Sunday Masses, Year A

Before Lent

Jan 29 Commentaries for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Feb 5 Commentaries for the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Feb 12 Commentaries for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Feb 19 Commentaries for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Feb 26 Commentaries for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time.


March 1 Ash Wednesday.
Mar 5. First Sunday of Lent.
Mar. 12. Second Sunday of Lent.
Mar. 19. Third Sunday of Lent.
Mar. 26. Fourth Sunday of Lent.
April 2. Fifth Sunday of Lent.
April 9. Sixth Sunday of Lent. Pending.

April 10–16. COMMENTARIES FOR HOLY WEEK. Includes Easter.


April 16. Easter Sunday.

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Commentaries for Holy Week


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 42:1-7.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 27.

Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 27.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 27.

Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 27.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on John 12:1-11.

St Augustine on John 12:1-11.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 12:1-11.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 12:1-11.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 12:1-11.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 12:1-11.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 49:1-6.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 71.

Pending: My Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17).

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 71.

Patristic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 71.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 13:21-33, 36-38.

St Augustine’s Commentary on John 13:21-33, 36-38.

Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 13:21-33, 36-38.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 13:21-33, 36-38.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 13:21-33, 36-38.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 50:4-9a.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 69.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 69.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 26:14-25.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthewt 26:14-25.

Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 26:14-25.

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Matthew 26:14-25.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Matthew 26:14-25.


Commentaries for the Chrism Mass.

Commentaries for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.


Commentaries for Good Friday.


Commentaries for Holy Saturday.


Commentaries for Easter Sunday.

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 28:1-10

Mat 28:1  And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.

And in the end of the sabbath.] This section may be divided into two parts: the first [vv. 1–10] proves the fact of Christ’s resurrection; the second [vv. 11–15] states the unbelief of the Jews. We need not show again that the evangelist is true to his purpose to the very end, proving the Messiasship of Jesus, and explaining to the Jewish Christians the rejection of Israel and the conversion of the nations.

1.] Proof of resurrection. This section contains four parts: a. Introduction, v. 1; b. the fright of the guard, vv. 2–4; c. the angel and the women, vv. 5–8; d. Jesus himself appears, vv. 8–10.

a. Introduction. The gospel first gives us the names of certain holy women, tells us what they did, and when they did it.

α. According to the first gospel the holy women were Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, the mother of James the less and Joseph. Mark [16:1] adds the name of Salome, the mother of James and John, to the preceding; Luke increases their number by adding Joanna and the others that were with them [Lk. 24:10]; John [20:1] mentions only Mary Magdalen. That the fourth gospel does not exclude the companions of Mary Magdalen is clear from 22:2, where the latter says to Peter and John: “… we know not where they have laid him.” None of the evangelists professes to give a full list of the holy women, so that they rather supplement than contradict one another.

β. All the gospels agree in telling that the holy women went to the sepulchre of our Lord. Mark [16:1] adds that they bought spices after the sabbath was ended, in order to anoint the body of their Master; Lk. 23:56, too, mentions the preparation of the spices, and in 24:1 he expressly states that they carried the spices with them to the sepulchre. Though it is implied by Luke that the preparation of the spices began on Friday afternoon, it follows from Mark that it was resumed Saturday evening after the sabbath had ended.

γ. There is more difficulty about the time of the preceding action as given in the four gospels: Matthew places it “in the end of the sabbath when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week”; Mark [16:2] states that it occurred “very early in the morning the first day of the week”; Luke [24:1] agrees almost with Mark “on the first day of the week very early in the morning”; John [20:1] reads “on the first day of the week … early, when it was yet dark.” The four evangelists agree, therefore, in assigning the first day of the week as the time of the women’s visit. The discrepancy between the fourth gospel, “when it was yet dark,” and the second, “the sun being now risen,” is of little account. For as the dawn and the twilight are short in Palestine, the women may well be said to have left their house “when it was yet dark” [Jn.], if they came to the sepulchre after sunrise [Mk.]. But how are we to explain the words of the first gospel? How can the end of the sabbath coincide with the dawn of the first day of the week? The Greek word rendered by “end” has two principal meanings: “late” and “long after” [cf. Liddell and Scott, Greek Lexicon, s. v. ὀψέ]. Hence Lamy, Fil. P. etc. explain the words of Matthew thus: “And after the sabbath, when it began to dawn,” etc. [cf. Mald. Fritzsche, Kuin. Steenkiste, etc.]. But Euth. Schegg, Schanz, Keil, Weiss, etc. understand the Greek adverb in its meaning of “late,” so that they agree more closely with the Vulgate version of the word. The foregoing writers differ, however, again in the precise explanation of the passage: Patrizi is of opinion that the two Marys paid a visit to the sepulchre “late on the sabbath, when the evening star [the morning star of Sunday] had risen” [cf. Ewald, Keim]. This view has not been commonly adopted by commentators, but it has the advantage that it reckons the day according to the legal way of the Jews. Most commentators observe that Matthew reckons according to the natural day, i. e. from sunrise to sunset; why else bring the dawn of Sunday in immediate contact with the end of Saturday? The passage means, therefore, “late on the sabbath [i. e. early on Sunday morning] when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week” [cf. Theoph. Lap. Nat. Alex. Alf. Bloomf. Knab. etc.].

Mat 28:2  And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and coming rolled back the stone and sat upon it. 
Mat 28:3  And his countenance was as lightning and his raiment as snow. 
Mat 28:4  And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror and became as dead men.

And behold there was.] b. The fright of the guard. The expression “and behold” does not necessarily imply that the following events occurred at the approach of the holy women [Caj. Mald.] or before their very eyes [Weiss], but points out that something wonderful took place. That the events had taken place before the arrival of the women may be inferred from the fact that they saw the stone rolled back when they arrived at the sepulchre, and again from the implied statement that they did not find a Roman guard near the place. The divine presence and power are repeatedly manifested by an earthquake [Pss. 67:8, 9; 97:7 f.; 98:1; 113:6, 7; Joel 3:16; etc.]. The ministry of an angel cannot astonish us under the circumstances, since angels announce Christ’s incarnation, birth, and ascension into heaven; angels, too, minister to him in the desert and in the garden of Gethsemani. The stone was rolled back not to give Jesus an exit, for he rose before the stone was rolled away, even as he was born without violating the virginity of his Blessed Mother [Thom.], but in order to convince the holy women and the disciples of his absence from the sepulchre. Writers vary concerning the exact time of our Lord’s resurrection: some contend that it cannot be determined with certainty; others place it at about an hour after midnight or the first cock-crow; others again place it at the dawn of Sunday, a little after the light of the day had begun to appear [cf. Suar. Bened. XIV. Greg. Euth.]. The point of comparison between the angel’s countenance and lightning is its brightness; and similarly the angel’s raiment is compared to snow on account of its spotless brilliancy [cf. Mald.]. Since even holy persons are frightened by witnessing divine apparitions [cf. Is. 6:5 (hebr.); Ezech. 2:1; Dan. 7:15; Lk. 1:30], the terror of the Roman soldiers at seeing the angel cannot astonish us.

Mat 28:5  And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you: for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 
Mat 28:6  He is not here. For he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. 
Mat 28:7  And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen. And behold he will go before you into Galilee. There you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.

And the angel answering, said.] c. The angel and the holy women. [1] Apparition of the angel. The holy women must first have been struck by the removal of the stone [Mk. 16:4; Lk. 24:2; Jn. 20:1], on seeing which Magdalen hastened back to announce the fact to Peter and John [Jn. 20:2]. The other women entered the sepulchre [Mk. 16:5; Lk. 24:3], as we see from verse 8, where the evangelist states: “They went out quickly from the sepulchre”; from the same passage it is clear that the angel addressed them inside the sepulchre, whither he must have retired after the Roman soldiers had fled away. Here the evangelists seem to disagree entirely in their accounts: the women are addressed by one angel according to Matthew and Mark [16:5], by two angels according to Luke [24:4, 5]; again, the angel is sitting to the right according to Mark, the angels are standing by the women according to Luke; the evangelists agree, however, regarding the dress of the angels: “clothed with a white robe” [Mk.] and “in shining apparel” [Lk.]. If one remembers the Jewish style of sepulchres, which had a vestibule and from this an entrance into one or more chambers actually used as graves, one understands why the holy women saw only one angel [Mk.], though two were present in the grave-chamber proper. This is the more natural if the angels occupied the place they did when Magdalen saw them [Jn. 20:12], “sitting one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid.” It is also clear why the angels who were first seated [Mk.] should rise and stand by the women in order to reassure them [Lk.].

—Fear not you.] [2] Words of the angel. The “you” is emphatic; it is not a mere address [Fritzsche, Schegg], nor does it signify the contrast between the women and the Roman soldiers [Theoph. Enth. Jans. Mald. Meyer, Berlepsch, Weiss, Keil, etc.], but it contrasts the women with the Jews, for whom the news of the resurrection must prove the cause of the greatest fear [Chrys. Jer. Greg. Schanz, etc.]. This follows from the reason advanced by the angel. The words “fear not” are characteristic of almost all favorable apparitions of angels [cf. Lk. 1:12, 13, 29; 2:9; etc.]. The parallel passage of Luke [24:5] shows that the words of the angel contained a gentle reproof for the incredulity of the women, or their want of attention to the prediction of Jesus. Then they are bidden to announce the good news to the disciples “and to Peter” [Mk.], in order to make them depart for Galilee, where the risen Redeemer will appear to them. Thus the holy women become the first apostles of Christ’s resurrection, as they had been his most faithful companions during the passion, and as the first woman had been the occasion of the fall. Galilee is chosen as the scene of the apparition, because Jesus himself had predicted this most clearly [Mt. 20:32; 26:32], because in Galilee was the apostles’ home where they would be free from the enmities of the Jews, again because in Galilee Jesus had most disciples [1 Cor. 15:6], and finally because Jesus wished to appear solemnly before the assembled Church, to authenticate himself [so to speak] as risen, and to inaugurate his kingdom by pronouncing the apostolical commission in the presence of the congregated faithful [cf. Dublin Review, Oct. 1876, “Gospel Narrative of the Resurrection”; Knab. Schanz, etc.]. Since the disciples did not believe the holy women implicitly, the first apparitions occurred in Jerusalem. The last words of the angel show the unexceptional truthfulness of his information.

Mat 28:8  And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples.

And they went out quickly.] [3] The action of the holy women. This passage supposes that the holy women had entered the sepulchre. Here we meet another apparent contradiction between the reports of the evangelists: Mk. 16:8 says: “But they going out fled from the sepulchre; for trembling and fear had seized them; and they said nothing to any man, for they were afraid.” Luke [24:9] agrees with the gospel of Matthew: “And going back from the sepulchre, they told all these things to the eleven and to the rest.” Various endeavors have been made to reconcile these apparent discrepancies: Enth. Caj. Salm. Tirin. Lam. Calm. patr. Fil. Grot. Hammond, Kuinoel, etc. think that the holy women said nothing of the angel’s message to any of those they met on their way to the apostles; but this explanation appears forced and unnatural. We must also reject the explanation that the holy women said nothing to the two angels that had spoken to them [Aug. De cons, evang. iii. 24; Bed. Fab.], or that they said nothing to the Roman soldiers whom they saw lying prostrate on the ground [Aug. Dion.]. It seems most natural that the holy women should have kept silent about their experience till they heard the report of Peter, John, and Magdalen, so that the second gospel tells us what happened immediately on their return to the city, while the first and the third gospel relate in general what happened during the day. Peter is informed by a woman of the resurrection, as he had been led by a woman to deny his Master.

Mat 28:9  And behold, Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet and adored him. 
Mat 28:10  Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee. There they shall see me.

And behold Jesus met them.] d. Jesus appears to the holy women. It is not likely that our Lord appeared to the women immediately on their leaving the sepulchre after the apparition of the angel. If this had been the case, the two disciples on their way to Emmaus would have known of it, as they knew of the apparition of an angel [Lk. 24:23]; again, it would be hard to explain the words of Mark [16:8], according to which the women did not tell the disciples immediately on returning to Jerusalem. Most probably, then, it was when the holy women went out again to the sepulchre at a later period, or when they were together on another errand, that Jesus manifested himself to them. The love of the women recognizes the Master at once, just as happened in the case of St. John [Jn. 21:7]. Our Lord, on his part, bids them to fear not, but deliver the angel’s message to the disciples, whom he now calls his “brethren,” in spite of their desertion in his last hour [cf. Heb. 2:11 f.; Rom. 8:29]. In his mortal life he had called them only friends. According to Hil. Bed. Jer. Euth. Jesus here shows that the curse brought on us through the instrumentality of the first woman has been broken, and at the same time he royally rewards those that had sorrowed for him most bitterly [cf. Zach. 12:10].

It may not be out of place to add here a general survey of our Lord’s apparitions: The first gospel mentions only the apparition to the holy women and that in Galilee; the second gospel mentions the apparition to Mary Magdalen, to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, and to the disciples on Sunday evening; the third gospel mentions an apparition to Peter, to the disciples on their way to Emmaus, to the disciples on Sunday evening, and implies another immediately before the ascension; the fourth gospel mentions the apparition to Mary Magdalen, to the disciples on Sunday evening, to the disciples together with Thomas, to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee; finally, 1 Cor. 15:5–7 mentions the apparition to Peter, to the eleven on Sunday evening, to the disciples on the mountain of Galilee, to James, to the apostles, and finally to Paul. Besides, there is an almost uniform tradition that our Lord appeared also to his Blessed Mother [cf. Ambr. Sedul. Anselm. Rup. Bonav. Baron. Bened. XIV. etc.]; however, Est. Jans, do not admit this.

The following seems to us the most probable order of apparitions: 1. to his Blessed Mother; 2. to Mary Magdalen; 3. to the holy women; 4. to Peter; 5. to the disciples going to Emmaus; 6. to the apostles except Thomas; 7. to the apostles including Thomas; 8. to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee; 9. to the five hundred on the mountain in Galilee; 10. to the disciples in Jerusalem; 11. to the disciples on Mount Olivet; 12. to the apostle Paul; 13. the time of the apparition to James certainly preceded that to Paul, but its place among the other apparitions cannot be determined.

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Haydock Bible Commentary on Matthew 28:1-10

Mat 28:1  And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre.

And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week. According to the letter, in the evening of the sabbath, which began to dawn on the first of the sabbath; (or of the sabbaths in the common Greek copies.) This latter translation, which is that of the Rheims Testament, is certainly more according to the letter, and more obscure than it need to be. First, by translating, on the first of the sabbath, where sabbath is taken for a week, as in other places, Luke 18:12. Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor. 16:2. It may therefore here be literally translated, on the first day of the week. Secondly, By the evening, is here meant the night: for in the Scriptures, both the Latin and Greek word, which we find in this place, not only signifies that time which we commonly call the evening, but is also put for the whole night itself, and for the time from sunset to sunrise next morning. Thus it is taken in the first chapter of Genesis, where, in the computation of natural days of 24 hours, all the hours in which it was dark, are called vespere, in the Sept. And all the hours in which it was light, are called mane, πρωι. et factum est vespere & mane dies unus, i.e. primus. And from the fourth day, on which were created sun and moon, by vespere was understood all the time from the sun setting on such parts of the earth, to its rising to them again: and mane signified all the day, or the hours that the sun appeared to the like parts of the earth. Therefore, the literal and proper sense of the verse is: in the night, i.e. in the latter part of the night of the sabbath, or after the sabbath, towards the morning of the first day of the week. And that in this place is signified the latter part of the night, and not what is commonly called the evening, appears first by the following words, when it began to dawn, or to be light. Secondly, It appears by the other evangelists. S. Mark (16:1) says, when the sabbath was past … very early in the morning. S. Luke says, (24:1,) very early in the morning. S. John (20:1) says of Mary Magdalene, that she came in the morning, when it was yet dark. From all which it is plain, that Mary Magdalene, and the other pious women, came to the sepulchre at the end of the night after the sabbath-day, or when it began to be light, and about sunrise on the first day of the week, on our Sunday.—There may indeed be some doubt whether the Latin word vesperè be not an adverb, corresponding to the Greek οψε, serò. And then it may be translated with Dr. Wells: late in the night after the sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week. But this makes no difference at all as to the sense. And the other Mary, &c. S. Mark says, Mary, the mother of James and Salome. S. Luke also names Joanna, who was wife to Chusa, Herod’s steward. These women had rested the sabbath, and as soon as it was over, i.e. after sunset, they bought spices, and prepared them in the night, in order to embalm the body next morning. Wi.

Mat 28:2  And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and coming rolled back the stone and sat upon it.

Behold … an angel. The angel did not remove the stone to afford a passage to Christ when he arose; for Christ most certainly arose before the angel appeared; but he removed the stone to prepare the way for the women, and to shew the soldiers that Christ was arisen. He sat on the stone, that the women might know he had removed it; and, in the second place, that they might not be terrified at the appearance of the soldiers; for he exhorted them not to fear, but to come and see; and lastly, to prevent the soldiers from putting in another body, had they been so disposed. The holy women seem not to have known that there were guards placed near the sepulchre; otherwise they would not have been so solicitous who should roll away the stone for them, as how they should deceive the guards and break the seal. Tirinus.—For an angel of the Lord. This angel, who came to testify Christ’s resurrection, removed the great stone; but Christ was risen before, who according to all the fathers, says Estius, rose, the sepulchre being yet shut.[2]—S. Matthew and S. Mark name but one angel; S. Luke and S. John name two. It may be answered, that the women saw one at one time, and two at another: one upon the stone, out of the monument; (which also frightened the guards) afterwards this angel disappeared, and the women coming near, and looking into the vault, saw two angels, when he that was on the right side said, why seek you him that is living, among the dead?—Another difference to be observed, is, that S. Matthew, Mark and John tell us, that the angel, or angels, sat; and S. Luke, that they stood: they might sit at one time, and stand at another. Besides that in the style of the Scriptures, standing, or sitting, many times imply no more than that they were present there.—In the third place, we take notice that Mary Magdalene seems to have come running to S. Peter, and S. John, as soon as she saw the stone removed, with these words, They have taken away the Lord … and we know not where they have laid him: John 20:2, we do not there read that she said any thing of the angels. Or perhaps S. Peter and S. John ran away before they heard all that Magdalene had to say. In all these there is no contradiction; and the difficulties rise only from this, that each evangelist does not relate all the circumstances. Wi.

Mat 28:3  And his countenance was as lightning and his raiment as snow. 

Haydock provides no commentary on this verse. The reference to the angel’s countenance recalls Daniel’s vision of the heavenly being in Dan 10:6 (the angel Gabriel? cf. Dan 9:21).

His raiment as snow. Associated with God (“the Ancient of Days” in Dan 9:7); the Son of Man (Rev 1:14-15); Jesus at the Transfiguration (Matt 17:2); angels at the Ascension (Acts 1:10); the Twenty-four Elders in Heaven (Rev 4:4); those who will be resurrected to heavenly glory (Rev 3:4-5; 6:11; 7:9, 13). 

Mat 28:4  And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror and became as dead men.

The guards were struck, &c. Fear and astonishment seized upon them, because they had not that charity for our Redeemer, of which he is so deserving; and they became petrified, like statues, at the thought that the crucified Jesus was arisen from the sepulchre. For these men guarded the sacred tomb, actuated more by passion and cruelty than by any sentiment of love and duty. Rabanus.

Mat 28:5  And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you: for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

It is not yours to fear, who love Jesus Christ: let those rather fear, who through hatred have crucified Jesus. All such, if they do not repent of their wickedness, must have to undergo the greatest extremities of pain. S. Chrys. hom. xc.—Those miscreants fear, because they have not charity, but fear not you; for I know you seek him that was crucified, who is risen, as he promised you. These affectionate women sought Jesus among the dead, who was then among the living. The recent storm of calamities had nearly overwhelmed their faith, and the weight of temptations had so enfeebled their understanding, that they came to seek the Lord of heaven as one dead among the dead. S. Jerom.—The angel blushes not to style Jesus the crucified; for this is now the height and perfection of all good. By these glad tidings he endeavoured to expel their fears, speaking with a smiling countenance, as the messenger of the most joyful news. S. Chrys. hom. xc.

Mat 28:6  He is not here. For he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid.

He is risen, as he said. This is to put them in mind of what they ought to have remembered, and believed.—S. Luke is more particular; and tells us the angel said: remember how he spoke to you, when he was yet in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again. Wi.—By this the angel give them to understand, that if they would not believe him upon his own testimony, they should at least on the testimony of their Redeemer’s promises, who had frequently assured them that on the third day he should rise again. S. Chrys. hom. xc.

Mat 28:7  And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen. And behold he will go before you into Galilee. There you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.

Into Galilee. It is not without reason that the angel informs the women that he will go before them into Galilee; for Galilee is interpreted a transmigration, or a passage. O happy women, who merited the glorious ministry of announcing to a sunk and distressed world the triumphant resurrection of our Redeemer. But thrice happy those souls, who in the day of judgment shall deserve to sing in everlasting canticles, the joy you now conceive in your breasts at the happy resurrection of Jesus. Ven. Bede.—Moreover, the disciples being Galileans, it was natural for them to return to Galilee, after the festival week of the Passover. V.

Mat 28:8  And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples.

Haydock offers no comments on this verse.

They went out quickly. Having been bidden to go quickly to the disciples (verse 7) the women obey.

With fear and great joy. Matthew downplays the harsher description of the women found in Mark 16:8. This is in keeping with his overall treatment of the disciples.

Mat 28:9  And behold, Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet and adored him.

Jesus met them. According to S. Mark, Christ appeared first to Mary Magdalene; and the particulars are related by S. John. She at first did not know him, but took him for the gardener: then he called her by her name Mary, and she knew him: he said to her, touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; i.e. according to the common exposition, I have not ascended, nor am yet going to ascend; thou mayest see me again before I ascend: this is not the last time.—We also read here, (v. 9,) that he appeared to some of the other women, as they were returning to Jerusalem from the sepulchre, and that they laid hold on his feet, and adored him; nor is it said that he hindered them. Wi.—They were then returning to carry the news to the disciples, when they laid hold of his feet. To touch the feet, was in the Scripture a species of veneration; (see Exod. 4:25. 4 Kings 4:27) as among the Greeks, the touching of the knees. Thus Homer’s Illiad, b. i.,

Και ρα παροιθ αυτοιο Καθεζετο, Και λαβε γουνων. v 500. And again, v. 512; ως ηψατο γουνων.

Mat 28:10  Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee. There they shall see me.

There they shall see me. Our Saviour, on the day of his resurrection, shewed himself alive five different times: 1. to Mary Magdalene; 2. to the women leaving the sepulchre; 3. to S. Peter; 4. to the two disciples going to Emmaus; 5. to the disciples assembled together, when the two returned from Emmaus. And after the day of his resurrection, before he ascended into heaven, he appeared other five times: 1. after eight days, when Thomas was present; 2. when the seven disciples were fishing on the sea of Tiberias; (S. John c. 21) 3. to the eleven on Mount Thabor; 4. in Jerusalem, on the day of his ascension; and 5. on the same day on Mount Olivet, when he was taken from them. Dion. Carth.—The seventh apparition of Jesus, which was by the sea or lake of Tiberias, S. John calls the third, which may mean in any numerous assembly of his disciples; the first being on the day of his resurrection, and the second the Sunday following. This may also be referred to the number of days. He first appeared to different persons on the very day of his resurrection; secondly, eight days afterwards, and then a third time. S. Aug.—The history of our Lord’s different apparitions in not very clear, and it is necessary to have recourse to the first chapter of the Acts, and to the 15th chapter of S. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. S. Austin says, (l. iii. de cons. Evang. c. xxv,) that there are ten apparitions of our Lord recorded in the four evangelists, which he specifies; but Maldonatus, on the 28th chap. of S. Mat. enumerates 13 different apparitions.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 24:13-35

Ver 13. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.14. And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.16. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.17. And he said to them, What manner of communications are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?18. And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said to him, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?19. And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:20. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.21. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.22. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher;23. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.24. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

GLOSS. After the manifestation of Christ’s resurrection made by the Angels to the women, the same resurrection is further manifested by an appearance of Christ Himself to His disciples; as it is said, And behold two of them.

THEOPHYL. Some say that Luke was one of these two, and for this reason concealed his name.

AMBROSE; Or to two of the disciples by themselves our Lord showed Himself in the evening, namely, Ammaon and Cleophas.

AUG. The fortress mentioned here we may not unreasonably take to have been also called according to Mark, a village. He next describes the fortress, saying, which was from Jerusalem about the space of sixty stades, called Emmaus.

BEDE; It is the same as Nicopolis, a remarkable town in Palestine, which after the taking of Judea under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antonius, changed together with its condition its name also. But the stadium which, as the Greeks say, was invented by Hercules to measure the distances of roads, is the eighth part of a mile; therefore sixty stades are equal to seven miles and fifty paces. And this was the length of journey which they were walking, who were certain about our Lord’s death and burial, but doubtful concerning His resurrection. For the resurrection which took place after the seventh day of the week, no one doubts is implied in the number eight. The disciples therefore as the, walk and converse about the Lord had completed the sixth mile of their journey, for they were grieving that He who had lived without blame, had come at length even to death, which He underwent on the sixth day. They had completed also the seventh mile, for they doubted not that He rested in the grave. But of the eighth mile they had only accomplished half; for the glory of His already triumphant resurrection, they did not believe perfectly.

THEOPHYL. But the disciples above mentioned talked to one another of the things which had happened, not as believing them, but as bewildered at events so extraordinary.

BEDE; And as they spoke of Him, the Lord comes near and joins them, that He may both influence their minds with faith in His resurrection, and fulfill that which He had promised, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there, am I in the midst of them; as it follows, And it came to pass while they communed to-tether and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.

THEOPHYL. For having now obtained a spiritual body, distance of place is no obstacle to His being present to whom he wished, nor did He any further govern His body by natural laws, but spiritually and supernaturally. Hence as Mark says, He appeared to them in a different form, in which they were not permitted to know Him; for it follows, And their eyes were holden that they should not know him; in order truly that they may reveal their entirely doubtful conceptions, and uncovering their wound may receive a cure; and that they might know that although the same body which suffered, rose again, yet it was no longer such as to be visible to all, but only to those by whom He willed it to be seen; and that they should not wonder why henceforth He walks not among the people, seeing that His conversation was not fit for mankind, but rather divine; which is also the character of the resurrection to come, in which we shall walk as the Angels and the sons of God.

GREG. Rightly also he refrained from manifesting to them a form which they might recognize, doing that outwardly in the eyes of the body, which was done by themselves inwardly in tile eyes of the mind. For they in themselves inwardly both loved and doubted. Therefore to them as they talked of Him He exhibited His presence, but as they doubted of Him He concealed the appearance which they knew. He indeed conversed with them, for it follows, And he said to them, What manner of communications, &c.

GREEK EX. They were in truth discoursing among themselves, no longer expecting to see Christ alive, but sorrowing as concerning their Savior slain. Hence it follows, And one of them whose name was Cleophas, answering him said, Are you only a stranger?

THEOPHYL. As if he said, “Are you a mere stranger, and one dwelling beyond the confines of Jerusalem, and therefore unacquainted with what has happened in the midst of it, that you know not these things;

BEDE; Or he says this, because they thought Him a stranger, whose countenance they did not recognize. But in reality He was a stranger to them, from the infirmity of whose natures, now that He had obtained the glory of the resurrection, He was far removed, and to whose faith, as yet ignorant of His resurrection, He remained foreign. But again the Lord asks; for it follows, And he said to them, What things? And their answer is given, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet. They confess Him to be a Prophet, but say nothing of the Son of God; either not yet perfectly believing, or fearful of falling into the hands of the persecuting Jews, either knowing not who He was, or concealing the truth which they believed. They add in praise of Him, mighty in deed and word.

THEOPHYL. First comes deed, then word; for no word of teaching is approved unless first he who teaches shows himself to be a doer thereof. For acting goes before sight; for unless by your works you have cleansed the glass of the understanding, the desired brightness does not appear. But still further it is added, Before God and all the people. For first of all we must please God, and then have regard as far as we can to honesty before men, that placing the honor of God first, we may live without offense to mankind.

GREEK EX. They next assign the cause of their sadness, the betrayal and passion of Christ; and add in the voice of despair, But we hoped it had been he who should trace redeemed Israel. We hoped, (he says,) not we hope; as if the death of the Lord were like to the deaths of other men.

THEOPHYL. For they expected that Christ would redeem Israel from the evils that were rising up among them and the Roman slavery. They trusted also that He was an earthly king, whom they thought would be able to escape the sentence of death passed upon Him.

BEDE; Reason had they then for sorrow, because in some sort they blamed themselves for having hoped redemption in Him whom now they saw dead, and believed not that He would rise again, and most of all they bewailed Him put to death without a cause, whom they knew to be innocent.

THEOPHYL. And yet those men seem not to have been altogether without faith, by what follows, And besides all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Whereby they seem to have a recollection of what the Lord had told them that He would rise again on the third day.

GREEK EX. The disciples also mention the report of the resurrection which was brought by the women; adding, Yes, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, &c. They say this indeed as if they did not believe it; wherefore they speak of themselves as frightened or astonished.

For they did consider as established what was told them, or that there had been an angelic revelation, but derived from it reason for astonishment and alarm. The testimony of Peter also they did not regard as certain, since he did not say that he had seen our Lord, but conjectured His resurrection from the fact that His body was not lying in the sepulcher.

Hence it follows, And certain of them that were with us went, &c.

AUG. But since Luke has said that Peter ran to the sepulcher; and has himself related the words of Cleophas, that some of them went to the sepulcher, he is understood to confirm the testimony of John, that two went to the sepulcher. He first mentioned Peter only, because to him first Mary had related the news.

Ver 25. Then he said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:26. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.28. And they drew nigh to the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.29. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,34. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.35. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

THEOPHYL. Because the above-mentioned disciples were troubled with too much doubt, the Lord reproves them, saying, O fools, (for they almost used the same words as those who stood by the cross, He saved others, himself he cannot save.) And He proceeds, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. For it is possible to believe some of these things and not all; as if a man should believe what the Prophets say of the cross of Christ, as in the Psalms, They pierced my hands and my feet; but should not believe what they say of the resurrection, as, You shall not suffer your Holy One to see corruption. But it becomes us in all things to give faith to the Prophets, as well in the glorious things which they predicted of Christ, as the inglorious, since through the suffering of evil things is the entrance into glory.Hence it follows, Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? that is, as respects His humanity.

ISID. PEL. But although it behooved Christ to suffer, yet they who crucified Him are guilty of inflicting the punishment. For they were not concerned to accomplish what God purposed. Therefore their execution of it was impious, but God’s purpose most wise, who converted their iniquity into a blessing upon mankind, using as it were the viper’s flesh for the working of a health-giving antidote.

CHRYS. And therefore our Lord goes on to show that all these things did not happen in a common way, but from the predestined purpose of God. Hence it follows, And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself: As if He said, Since you are slow I will render you quick, by explaining to you the mysteries of the Scriptures. For the sacrifice of Abraham, when releasing Isaac he sacrificed the ram, prefigured Christ’s sacrifice. But in the other writings of the Prophets also there are scattered about mysteries of Christ’s cross and the resurrection.

BEDE; But if Moses and the Prophets spoke of Christ, and prophesied that through His Passion He would enter into glory, how does that man boast that he is a Christian. who neither searches how these Scriptures relate to Christ, nor desires to attain by suffering to that glory which he hopes to have with Christ.

GREEK EX. But since the Evangelist said before, Their eyes were holden that they should not know him, until the words, of the Lord should move their minds to faith, He fitly affords in addition to their hearing a favorable object to their sight As it follows, And they drew night to the fortress whither they were going, and he feigned as if he was going further.

AUG. Now this relates not to falsehood. For not every thing we feign is a falsehood, but only when we feign that which means nothing. But when our feigning has reference to a certain meaning it is not a falsehood, but a kind of figure of the truth. Otherwise all the things figuratively spoken by wise and holy men, or even by our Lord Himself must be accounted falsehoods. For to the experienced understanding truth consists not in certain words, but as words so also deeds are feigned without falsehood to signify a particular thing.

GREG. Because then He was still a stranger to faith in their hearts, He feigned as if he would go further. By the word “fingere” we mean to put together or form, and hence formers or preparers of mud we call “figuli.” He who was the Truth itself did nothing then by deceit, but exhibited Himself in the body such as He came before them in their minds. But because they could not be strangers to charity, with whom charity was walking, they invite Him as if a stranger to partake of their hospitality.  Hence it follows, And they compelled him. From which example it is gathered that strangers are not only to be invited to hospitality, but even to be taken by force.

GLOSS. They not only compel Him by their actions, but induce Him by their words; for it follows, saying, Abide with us, for it is towards evening, and the day is far gone, (that is, towards its close.)

GREG. Now behold Christ since He is received through His members, so He seeks His receivers through Himself; for it follows, And he went in with them.  They lay out a table, they bring food. And God whom they had not known in the expounding of Scriptures, they knew in the breaking of bread; for it follows, And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him.

CHRYS. This was said not of their bodily eyes, but of their mental sight.

AUG. For they walked not with their eyes shut, but there was something within them which did not permit them to know that which they saw, which a mist, darkness, or some kind of moisture, frequently occasions. Not that the Lord was not able to transform His flesh that it should be really a different form from that which they were accustomed to behold; since in truth also before His passion, He was transfigured in the mount, so that His face was bright as the sun. But it was not so now. For we do not unfitly take this obstacle in the sight to have been caused by Satan, that Jesus might not be known. But still it was so permitted by Christ up to the sacrament of the bread, that by partaking of the unity of His body, the obstacle of the enemy might be understood to be removed, so that Christ might be known.

THEOPHYL. But He also implies another thing, that the eyes of those who receive the sacred bread are opened that they should know Christ. For the Lord’s flesh has in it a great and ineffable power.

AUG. Or because the Lord feigned as if He would go farther, when He was accompanying the disciples, expounding to them the sacred Scriptures, who knew not whether it was He, what does He mean to imply but that through the duty of hospitality men may arrive at a knowledge of Him; that when He has departed from mankind far above the heavens, He is still with those who perform this duty to His servants. He therefore holds to Christ, that He should not go far from him, whoever being taught in the word communicates in all good things to him who teaches. For they were taught in the word when He expounded to them the Scriptures. And because they followed hospitality, Him whom they knew not in the expounding of the Scriptures, they know in the breaking of bread. For not the hearers of the law are just before God but the doers of the law shall be justified.

GREG. Whoever then wishes to understand what he has heard, let him hasten to fulfill in work what he can now understand. Behold the Lord was not known when He was speaking, and He vouchsafed to be known when He is eating. It follows, And he vanished out of their sight.

THEOPHYL. For He had not such a body as that He was able to abide longer with them, that thereby likewise He might increase their affections. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

ORIGEN; By which is implied, that the words uttered by the Savior inflamed the hearts of the hearers to the love of God.

GREG. By the word which is heard the spirit is kindled the chill of dullness departs, the mind becomes awakened with heavenly desire. It rejoices to hear heavenly precepts, and every command in which it is instructed, is as it were adding a faggot to the fire.

THEOPHYL. Their hearts then were turned either by the fire of our Lord’s words, to which they listened as the truth, or because as he expounded the Scriptures, their hearts were greatly struck within them, that He who was speaking was the Lord. Therefore were they so rejoiced, that without delay they returned to Jerusalem. And hence what follows, And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem. They rose up indeed the same hour, but they arrived after many hours, as they had to travel sixty stades.

AUG. It had been already reported that Jesus had risen by the women, and by Simon Peter, to whom He had appeared. For these two disciples found them talking of these things when they came to Jerusalem; as it follows, And they found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them., saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon.

BEDE; It seems that our Lord appeared to Peter first of all those whom the four Evangelists and the Apostle mention.

CHRYS. For He did not show Himself to all at the same time, in order that He might sow the seeds of faith. For he who had first seen and was sure, told it to the rest. Afterwards the word going forth prepared the mind of the hearer for the sight, and therefore He appeared first to him who was of all the most worthy and faithful. For He had need of the most faithful soul to first receive this sight, that it might be least disturbed by the unexpected appearance. And therefore He is first seen by Peter, that he who first confessed Christ should first deserve to see His resurrection, and also because he had denied Him He wished to see him first, to console him, lest he should despair. But after Peter, He appeared to the rest, at one time fewer in number, at another more, which the two disciples attest; for it follows, And they told what things were done by the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

AUG. But with respect to what Mark says, that they told the rest, and they did not believe them, whereas Luke says, that they had already begun to say, The Lord is risen indeed, what must we understand, except that there were some even then who refused to believe this?

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 24:13-35

Text in red are my additions.

13 And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus.

“And behold,” conveying, that the following was a sudden and unexpected manifestation.

“Two of them,” generally supposed to refer to two of the seventy-two disciples. Our Lord had several followers besides the seventy-two, of whom some, like Nicodemus, who came to Him by night, did not publicly profess their adherence and attachment to Him. That these two were of the seventy-two, is the more common opinion of the Fathers. That they were not of the Apostles, is clear from verse 33, where it is said, “they found the eleven gathered together.”

“Went the same day,” Easter Day, on which our Lord had risen.

“To a town.” St. Mark (16:12) has, “into the country.” The common opinion is, that St. Luke here, and St. Mark, refer to the same occurrence, which is fully detailed by St. Luke alone. The objection to this opinion, derived from the assertion of St. Mark, that those to whom they announced it, “did not believe;” whereas, St. Luke (v. 34) would seem to say the contrary, is of no weight; since it might be said that among those, of whom St. Mark speaks, some did not believe, while others did, and among the letter were the Apostles.

“Sixty furlongs,” or about seven and a half miles “from Jerusalem.” “Named Emmaus.” After the total subjugation of the Jews, it was called Nicopolis, as we are informed by Sozomen (Lib. 5, Hist. c. 21); St. Jerome (ad Eustoch. de Epitaph. Paulæ Ep. 27).

14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

The occurrences which took place in regard to our Lord, viz., His sufferings, death, and the announcement made by the holy women on that morning, formed the subject of their conversation.

15 And it came to pass that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also, drawing near, went with them.

“And it came to pass,” seemingly by mere chance, so far as it concerned them, but not so, as regarded our Lord, by whom it was deliberately arranged beforehand.

“Talked and reasoned with themselves,” talked over the events that occurred, “and reasoned” about the conclusions to be deduced, as to whether He had really risen, as He had promised, and the consequences of His having risen or not risen, &c.

“Jesus Himself also”—the very person of whom they were speaking. This is the force of “also,” unexpectedly, His approach being unobserved till He actually joined them as a fellow-traveller, journeying the same way; thus illustrating His promise, as Ven. Bede, in hoc loco, observes—that “where two or three are assembled in His name, He is in the midst of them.”

16 But their eyes were held, that they should not know him.

“But their eyes were held,” &c. Our Lord did not wish to be recognised by them. St. Mark (16:12), says, “He appeared in a different shape.” Both may have happened. Whilst remaining substantially the same as He had been before in His mortal form, His glorious and immortal body presented in some features a different appearance, owing to the natural qualities of a glorified body, from what it had before presented, just as shall be the case with our bodies after the Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:41, 42); and, as happened to our Lord Himself after His resurrection, when Magdalen took Him for the gardener, and the Apostles for a Spirit (v. 37), although it is not said that in either case their eyes were held. His glorious body may have assumed the appearance of a stranger travelling homewards. The eyes of the disciples were held so as not to recognize Him in His altered and glorified shape. So were their ears also in regard to His voice, which probably was changed as well as His outward appearance. Our Lord held their eyes by a supernatural influence, so that although seen, He might not be recognized by them, in order that their faith and testimony might be more firm, when after laying bare the wounds of unbelief, a suitable remedy might be more effectually and more abidingly applied—“ut ulcus suum (dubitationis et tristitiæ) discipuli aperirent ct pharmacum susciperent”—(Theophylact).

17 And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk and are sad?

“What are those discourses that you hold one with another?” The Greek for “hold,” conveys the idea of lossing backwards and forwards like a ball. Hence, it means, to interchange.

“And are sad,” show a sad and mournful countenance. Our Lord Himself well knew the subject of their conversation, and the cause of their sorrow—He may also have on His near approach, overheard what they were speaking about. He wishes, however, to ascertain it from themselves, in order to apply the remedy, of which their own admissions would be naturally suggestive. In some MSS.—the Vatican among the rest—after, “as you walk,” are inserted the words, “they stood still,”—εσταθησαν—“sad in countenance.”

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days?

“Cleophas,” probably, a native of Emmaus, as is inferred from the pressing invitation given to our Redeemer to receive hospitality from him (v. 29).

“Art thou only a stranger?” &c., that is, art thou the only stranger among the crowd of strangers, that came to Jerusalem on the occasion of the great Paschal solemnity, that is ignorant of these things, of which we are speaking? They took Him for one of the strangers who came to celebrate the Pasch at Jerusalem. “And hast not known,” &c. “And,” has the meaning of “who, knoweth not,” &c. “Only,” or rather “alone,” directly affects the verb, “knowest not,” in the meaning of the passage. These disciples are so full of their subject, that they can think of nothing else, and cannot conceive, how it could be supposed, that there was any thing else to engage the attention of any one in Jerusalem, save the great events they were discoursing about. Beelen (Gramm. Græcit, § 3) observes, that the finite verb, παροικεις (paroikeis = “living,” but in the sense of dwelling or residing temporarily), is put for παροικων (paroikeo), and one sentence expressed by two, connected by και, συ μονος παροικων Ιερουσαλημ, ουκ εγνως (“Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known”). Basically, the Greek structure noted by Beelen simply confirms the point MacEvilly is attempting to make. The following translation might help capture the meaning: “Are you the only person living  Jerusalem, that thou has not known the things that have come to pass in it in these days?”

19 To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people.

Our Lord, without denying that He knew all the events, designedly conceals all cognizance of them, and, in order to ascertain from their own admission the thoughts of their minds, the weakness of their faith and their hesitancy, which He meant to remedy, asks, “what things?” What are the things you refer to as having happened? They reply, the things that happened, “concerning Jesus of Nazareth,” &c.

The disciples here refrain from expressing their belief in our Lord’s Divinity, if they had such belief, not knowing the stranger with whom they were conversing. It might be perilous to express such faith, on account of the persecution they might suffer from the Jews (Ven. Bede). Or, it may be, that being in a state of doubt and perplexity on account of recent events, they knew not what to call our Lord, beyond what was almost universally believed regarding Him, viz., that He was a distinguished Prophet, who, with miraculous wonders, united a doctrine all heavenly “before God” (Acts 2:22), “and all the people,” God and man testifying to His merits. The power and sanctity of God were wonderfully displayed in Him, and the whole people, the envious Pharisees excepted, always revered Him as a Prophet. They then convey to this stranger, that such a man should rather be treated with honour, than be ignominiously put to death.

20 And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death and crucified him.

“And crucified Him,” by the hands of the Romans, to whom they delivered Him for this purpose (see Acts 2:36; 4:10). The disciples prudently refrain from expressing their own convictions regarding the injustice of the treatment He received, as they were speaking to an unknown stranger, who might denounce them to the Jewish authorities.

21 But we hoped that it was he that should have redeemed Israel. And now besides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done.

“We hoped that it was He who should have redeemed Israel”—the promised, long-expected Messiah, who would rescue the Jewish people from the odious yoke of the Romans. But, now recent events have considerably perplexed us, and served to lessen this hope. The disciples shared in the common error of their countrymen, who imagined that the Messiah would effect the temporal deliverance of the Jews. Even up to His ascension, they expected this (Acts 1:8). In this verse, is shown the perplexity or fluctuation between hope and fear, under which the disciples were now labouring.

“And besides all this,” besides the perplexity caused by His death and ignominious sufferings, our embarrassment and want of confidence and belief regarding Him, are still more increased, when we remember—what was calculated to raise our hopes still higher—that He promised to rise again on the third day, and now, “to-day is the third day since these things happened,” that is, since His betrayal and death; and still, there is no clear evidence of His having risen. Even if the disciples remembered our Lord’s promise, they did not clearly understand what it meant. The disciples probably remembered the promise and prediction regarding His resurrection on the third day, as is conveyed in the above explanation, but in their confusion and perplexity, they omit all allusion to such promise, and express themselves in an incoherent form, or, it may be, they purposely suppressed any distinct allusion to this prediction, when addressing a stranger whom they knew not, lest they might expose themselves to ridicule, for their credulity in attending to a promise, in which they were apparently disappointed.

22 Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us who, before it was light, were at the sepulchre,

And even to add to our perplexity, and cause us to linger still between hope and doubt, “certain women also of our company, affrighted us,” threw us into an ecstasy, or threw us into amazement—such is the force of the Greek verb.

23 And not finding his body, came, saying that they had all seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive.
24 And some of our people went to the sepulchre and found it so as the women had said: but him they found not.

“And some of our people.” Hence, more than one went, more than Peter (v. 12); John also is included, so that there is reference here to the visit made by Peter and John. (John 20:3, &c.) “But Him they found not.” Hence, between the disappearance of the body, and their ignorance as to where He is, our doubts and perplexity are further increased.

25 Then he said to them: O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things, Which the prophets have spoken.

Hitherto, our Lord had patiently heard them out, and having fully ascertained from themselves the spiritual malady of religious doubt and hesitation, they were suffering from, He now prudently applies the proper remedy. “O foolish”—the Greek word, ανοητοι (anoetoi), means devoid of mind or intelligence—“and slow of heart to believe in all things,” or, to believe all things—“the prophets have spoken.” “All things.” They believed and fully appreciated what the prophets had said regarding the glories of the future Messiah; but the other things, that regarded His humiliations and sufferings, they were slow to believe, and could not be brought to comprehend.

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so, to enter into his glory?

“Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?” “Ought not.” Looking to the predictions of the prophets, to His own voluntary, free action, arranging all beforehand, and to the decree of God, ordaining that His Son should redeem mankind, by His voluntary sufferings and ignominious death, it was necessary He should suffer. There was nothing about which the prophets and the Books of Moses were more explicit than regarding the sufferings and humiliations of the Messiah, therefore called “the end of the law” (Rom. 10:4). Hence, our Lord shows the disciples that the very thing that weakened their faith and made them lose all hope—for by saying, “we hoped,” they insinuate that such hope was lost at present—should be the very thing to increase their faith, and confirm their hope. For if He did not suffer, He would not be the Messiah of whom the prophets spoke.

“And so,” through the predicted ordeal of sufferings, and no other way—this being an indispensable condition—“enter into His glory,” viz., the glory of His resurrection, ascension—the exalted name He received in reward for His humiliation (Philip. 2:6). “His glory”—“His,” singly merited by Him—“His,” by the preordinating decrees of God (Heb. 2:9). This is His ordination regarding all His followers, “per multas tribulationes,” &c. (Acts 14, &c.)

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things that were concerning him.

“Moses.” The Books of Moses, “and the writings of the prophets,” “He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things that were concerning Him.” Commencing with the very beginning of Sacred Scripture, the Books of Moses, He fully explained the texts that chiefly regarded Him, and also the types that foreshadowed Him, the Brazen Serpent, the Paschal Lamb, the Sacrifice of Isaac, and the rest which are found in the several books of Sacred Scriptures regarding Him.

28 And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther.

“The town” of Emmaus, “whither they were going”—“and He made as though He would go farther.” Although He wished to remain and reveal Himself, still in order to give them an opportunity of pressing Him to partake of their hospitality, and thus render them worthy of hearing more of His heavenly doctrines, He acted as if He meant to proceed farther. He only showed by act what He meant to do; He meant to go farther, if they did not press Him to remain. There is nothing, therefore, savouring of a practical falsehood in seeming to do what. He was about doing. His action, when seeming to proceed, was equivalent to the question, “shall we now part?” There was no more in this than in His appearing in the form of a stranger travelling homewards, and His apparent motion forwards was only carrying out this notion; or in His assuming the form of the gardener, when He first appeared to Magdalen. Although He knew, as God, they would press Him to remain; still, acting as man, He made an experiment of their hospitable feelings towards Him, whom they regarded as a stranger.

29 But they constrained him, saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them.

“They constrained Him, saying,” &c. They eagerly pressed Him, whose society and words had caused them such pleasure. “Because it is towards evening.” The sun had already passed the meridian. Some hours of day, however, still remained. For they returned that very day to Jerusalem, and announced to the Apostles, that they saw the Lord (v. 33). It is supposed by many that Cleophas lived at Emmaus, and entertained our Lord at his house, which, St. Jerome says (Ep. 27 Epis. ad Paulam, c. 3), our Lord made into a church, from which it is inferred, that St. Jerome held that our Lord administered the blessed Eucharist on this occasion. Wherever the Eucharist is celebrated, there is a church.

30 And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread and blessed and brake and gave to them.

It is a subject of dispute among Commentators whether our Lord celebrated the blessed Eucharist on this occasion, or not. Some who hold the affirmative (St. Augustine, Sermo. 140, de Tempore; St. Jerome, Ep. 27; Theophylact, Bede, A. Lapide, Maldonatus, &c.), prove their view: first, from the words used here, “took bread,” “blessed,” “broke,” “gave to them,” which, being precisely the same as those in which the institution of the Eucharist is described (Matthew 26:26), would imply that the same thing took place in both cases. Again, the words of the disciples (v. 35), “the breaking of bread,” are the terms in which the blessed Eucharist was designated in the days of the Apostles (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 10:16; panis quem frangimus); 2nd, from the effect produced. “This breaking of bread” had the miraculous effect of opening the eyes of the disciples, so as to know our Lord. It was, therefore, a very solemn, religious act. These disciples, probably, having heard from the Apostles of the ceremony observed by our Lord at the last supper, seeing it repeated here, and remembering His words a year before this (John 6), when He spoke of Himself as the Bread that came down from heaven—the Bread that gave life to the world—at once, owing to the miraculous effect of the Eucharist, recognised Him in this adorable mystery of His love; 3rd, the blessing here is different from the ordinary blessing at meals, for it was given, not at the commencement, but at the end of supper, “cum cænasset,” for our Lord immediately after vanished.

These Commentators, therefore, hold that our Lord gave Himself to these two disciples under one species, in the form of bread only, as we have no account of the chalice, our Lord having suddenly disappeared on being recognised in the breaking of bread. Others, however (Jansenius, Estius, Calmet), are of a different opinion, whilst Bellarmine, Natalis, Alexander, &c., give no positive opinion on the subject either way.

31 And their eyes were opened: and they knew him. And he vanished out of their sight.

“Their eyes were opened.” The following words explain what this means, not that they were blind before, but that some veil, some obstacle, supernaturally impeded their clear vision, so that they could not see Him. Hence, it is added, “and they knew Him.” This was the miraculous effect of “the breaking of the bread,” as they themselves afterwards explain (v. 35). They were opened in the same way as were those of our fallen first parents (Genesis 3), of Agar (Genesis 21:19).

“And He vanished out of their sight.” He rendered Himself invisible to them, by an effect of His Divine power, and passed away from them, after He had shown Himself visibly to them in His glorious body, and after He had been recognised by them. This circumstance of suddenly rendering Himself invisible and disappearing, was of itself calculated to confirm their faith and belief that it was Christ, and Christ only, they saw.

32 And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in the way and opened to us the scriptures?

“Was not our heart burning,” &c. These words are understood by some to mean, that they reproached themselves for not having known Him before, owing to the fire which His conversation kindled in their hearts. Others understand the words to be confirmatory of their assured recognition of our Lord, just seen by them, as if to say, surely it must be He, for we could not account otherwise for the burning heat we felt during the entire time He was expounding the Scriptures, and conversing with us on the way. The effect of God’s Word properly received is, to enlighten us and inflame us with Divine love, “ignitum eloquium tuum vehementer.” (Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5; Deut. 32:2; Luke 12:42; Ezechiel 1:13, &c.) No wonder that the pious reading of, and meditation on, the Word of God, should stimulate and inflame us to advance more and more in the road of perfection. If it fail, the fault is entirely our own.

33 And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them,

“The same hour,” without a moment’s delay. Although now it was “towards evening,” &c., they rose up, at once, from table, in their anxiety to impart to the Apostles and other disciples the glad tidings regarding our Lord’s resurrection and appearance to themselves. Probably, they meant before this occurrence to spend the night at Emmaus; but now, they make no delay in returning in haste to Jerusalem.

“The eleven.” It is thus the Apostolic College is styled subsequent to our Lord’s death. Thomas was absent on this occasion (v. 36), hic, when the two approached, and being incredulous, left before our Lord spoke to the eleven (John 20:19–24). It may be, Thomas was present. “And those that were with them,” viz., the holy women and the other disciples—our Lord’s disciples of either sex—who then stopped at Jerusalem, and were assembled together in the same house with the Apostles, conversing about the wonderful manifestations both to the women and Peter regarding His resurrection.

34 Saying: The Lord is risen indeed and hath appeared to Simon.

“Saying,” that is, the eleven, and the others, first informed the two disciples, who imagined they were the first to announce the glad tidings of our Lord’s resurrection, so that when the two announced the apparition vouchsafed to themselves, they had nothing new to impart, that the others had not already known.

“The Lord is risen indeed,” that is, truly and undoubtedly.

“And hath appeared to Simon.” It would seem that our Lord appeared to Peter first, before He manifested Himself to any other man, out of regard for his ardent love, to console him for his fall—as He appeared first to the fallen, loving Magdalen before other women—and as a privilege intended for the head of His Church (1 Cor. 15:5). When He appeared to Peter we cannot ascertain. But it is commonly believed He appeared to him, before He appeared to the two disciples referred to here. It would seem the Apostles and disciples placed more reliance on the declaration of Peter than they did on that of the women; although still some among them doubted (Mark 16:13).

35 And they told what things were done in the way: and how they knew him in the breaking of bread.

After hearing from the assembled Apostles and disciples of our Lord’s apparition, the two disciples relate in turn what occurred to themselves on the road and at table, and furnished further evidence, to an audience already prepared to believe, of the truth of our Lord’s resurrection.

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Commentaries for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Thursday)



Holy Thursday Evening Mass Readings: NABRE.


Navarre Bible Commentary on Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14.

Word-Sunday Notes on Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 116.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 116.

Part 1: Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 116.

Part 2: Pope John Paul II’s Commentary on Psalm 116.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 116.


Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

Navarre Bible Commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

Word-Sunday Notes on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

EWTN’s In the Footsteps of St Paul. Listen to episode 8.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 13:1-15.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 13:1-15.

Word-Sunday Notes on John 13:1-15.

Navarre Bible Commentary on John 13:1-15.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast on John: The Last Supper.

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Commentaries for Holy Thursday Chrism Mass



Chrism Mass Readings NABRE.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Isaiah 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Isaiah 61:1-3a, 6a, 8b-9.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18.

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 89.

St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 89.

Word-Sunday Notes on Psalm 89.

My Notes on the Responsorial (Ps 89:21-22, 25, 27). Includes notes on 20 & 26 also.


St Bede the Venerable on Revelation 1:5-8.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Revelation 1:5-8.

Word-Sunday Notes on Revelation 1:5-8.

St Martha’s Parish Podcast Study on Revelation 1. Begins with some introductory material. Power Point handout here.

The Apocalypse of St John: A Study of the Book of Revelation. Listen to part one.


Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:16-21. This was previously published and includes commentary on verse 14, 15, 22.

Cornelius a Lapide on Luke 4:16-21.

Word-Sunday Notes on Luke 4:16-21. On 16-30.

Navarre Bible Commentary on Luke 4:16-21. On 14-22.

St Cyril of Alexandria on Luke 4:16-21.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study of Luke chapters 3 & 4. Click on the POD icon or direct download link.

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St Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on Revelation 1:5-8

5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth, who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood

the first-begotten. This is the same that the Apostle saysb, “We have seen Jesus Christ for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour.” And in another place, in setting forth the reproach of the cross, he addedc, “Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave Him the Name which is above every name.”

6. And hath made us a kingdom, and priests to God and his Father. To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

priests. Because the King of kings and heavenly Priest united us unto His own body by offering Himself for us, there is not one of the saints who has not spiritually the office of priesthood, in that he is a member of the eternal Priest

7. Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him: and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen.

cometh. He Who was concealed, when at the first He came to be judged, will be manifested at the time when He shall come to judge. He mentions this, that the Church which is now oppressed by enemies, but is then to reign with Christ, may be strengthened for the endurance of sufferings.

pierced. When they see Him as a Judge with power, in the same form in which they pierced Him as the least of all, they will mourn for themselves with a repentance that is too late.

Amen. By interposing an Amen, he confirms that without doubt that will happen, which, by the revelation of God, he knows most surely is to come to pass.

8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Alpha and Omega.  He is the beginning Whom no one precedes, the end Whom no one succeeds in His kingdom.

Who is. He had said this same thing of the Father, for God the Father came, as He also is to come, in the Son.

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 12:1-11

This homily is somewhat fragmented.

Jn 12:3. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

While Martha was serving, Mary anointed the Lord with ointment, thus accomplishing her love towards Him; and by the actions of both, the measure of love was filled up and made perfect.

Jn 12:4-8 Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, which should betray Him, saith, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief and had the bag, and took away what was put therein. Jesus therefore said, Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this. For the poor ye have always with you; but Me ye have not always.

The traitor rebukes the woman who had shown her devotion towards Christ, and attacks the admirable deed, and affects to blame it out of love towards the poor, because ointment was brought and not money. But it was out of ignorance as to what is really excellent that Judas said this. For the bringing of presents unto God ought to be honoured more than the poor. |139 The Evangelist however sets forth the reason, on account of which Judas said this: it was not that he felt any concern for the poor, but because he was a thief and a sacrilegious person, stealing the money which was dedicated to God. And the Lord also makes it clear that the woman was free from any blame, whereby He covertly rebukes the traitor; not in His good judgment finding fault with things that were worthy of praise, but saying: Let her alone. And He said in defence of the anointing with the ointment, that it had been done, not out of luxu-riousness, but because of a certain mystery which had reference to His burying; although she who did it was unaware of the design of the mystery. For many things have been both said and done with, reference to a mystical type, when they who spoke and acted were unaware of it. Yet here again the Lord rebukes Judas, because he said this not out of piety, but because he was greedy of base gain, and was going for a little gain to betray his Master. For the burying and the allusion thus made to His death indicate this plainly. And the Lord also brings forward an argument which convinces us that nothing is better than devotion towards Him. For, He says, love for the poor is very praiseworthy, only let it be put after veneration of God. And what He says amounts to this: The time, He says, which has been appointed for My being honoured, that is to say, the time of My sojourn on earth, does not require that the poor should be honoured before Me. And this He said with reference to the Incarnation. He does not however in any way forbid the sympathetic person to exercise his love towards the poor. Therefore when there is need of service or of singing, these must be honoured before love towards the poor; for it is possible to do good after the spiritual services are over. He says therefore that it is not necessary always without intermission to devote our time to honouring Himself, or to spend everything upon the priestly service, but to lay out the greatest part upon the poor. Or thus: As He bids His disciples to fast after He had ascended to the Father, |140 so also He says that then they may more freely give attention to the care of the poor, and exercise their love for the poor with less disturbance and more leisure: which indeed was the case. For after the Ascension of the Saviour, when they were no longer following their Master on His journeys, but had leisure; then they eagerly spent all the offerings that were brought to them upon the poor.

Jn 12:9 A great multitude therefore of the Jews learned that He was there: and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom He had raised from the dead.

Through the strangeness of the sign the multitude are astonished; and that which they heard to have been done they wished also to behold with their eyes, that they might believe it more confidently. And they not only wished to see Lazarus, but also the Christ, the doer of the sign; not then seeing Him for the first time, for they had often seen Him and companied with Him; but inasmuch as He had gone into retirement, that He might not suffer before the proper time, they were seeking again to see Him: and the more reasonable among them even admired Him, as they recognised no fault in Him. With a settled purpose therefore the Lord did not immediately enter into Jerusalem, but remained outside, in order that by the report [which would reach the city] He might draw the common people to a desire of wishing to see Him.

Jn 12:10-11 But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

See now how frantic the rulers seem to become, wildly rushing hither and thither under the influence of their envy, and saying nothing coherently. They seriously meditate murder upon murder, thinking to remove the force of the miraculous deed at the same time with their victim, that they might stop the people running to believe Christ. |141 (source)

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 12:1-11

Jn 12:1. “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Pasch.” “Therefore,” because the Pasch was near (11:55), Jesus wished to go Jerusalem; or, “therefore,” on account of the commandment above referred to (11:56), not wishing to come into the power of His enemies before the time appointed had come, He left Ephrem, or Ephraim, where He had been sojourning a few days. “Six days before the Pasch,” at which He was Himself to be sanctified, as the true Paschal Lamb, for the redemption of mankind. Instead of going straightway to Jerusalem, He came to Bethany, where lived Lazarus, who had been resuscitated from the grave. Here, our Lord had many friends, and the recollection of His recent miracle would induce the people to conduct Him in triumph to Jerusalem. on the following Sunday, the third day, after His arrival at Bethany. “Whom Jesus raised to life.” The Greek has not, “Jesus,” but only, “whom He raised from the dead.” “Where Lazarus had been dead.” The Greek has, “Where was Lazarus, who had been dead?

Jn 12:2. St. Matthew (26:6), tells us, this banquet was given in the house of Simon the leper.

On verses 1–8. (See Matthew 26:6–13, Commentary on.) I’ll try to post commentary on that passage beofre Monday.

Jn 12:3. “Anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped,” etc. There is a transposition or inversion of order in this. She first wiped His feet with her hair, removing the dust that adhered to them; and then, as Matthew and Mark tell us, anointed His head, which was usually done. Had she wiped His feet after anointing them, she would be only oiling her own hair; and St. John adds, that, in addition to washing His head, she did what was quite unusual, viz., anointed His feet, in proof of her excessive love, and in gratitude for the remission of her sins, which she obtained at His sacred feet. She did not wipe His feet after anointing them, for the reason already assigned. After anointing His head and feet, she left the oil, without wiping it off, as above explained, to produce the intended effect of anointing in such cases.

Jn 12:4, 5. “Judas Iscariot.” The Greek has, “Judas of Simon or, the son of Simon.” The other Evangelists say, that the other disciples joined in the murmuring. They did so, from feelings of charity; Judas, from avarice, as in next verse.

Jn 12:6 He was entrusted with carrying the common purse, in which were deposited the means contributed as a sort of sustentation fund for the support of our Redeemer and His disciples. Abusing the confidence reposed in him, he used to purloin or carry away stealthily, for his own private use, some of its contents. He felt indignant, that the price of this ointment was not thrown with the rest into the common fund, so that he might thus be enabled to set some of it aside for his own use. While affecting great concern for the poor, the gratification of avarice was his real motive. For the poor he felt no concern whatever. How many hypocritical followers of Judas are to be found, at all times, men who talk loudly in favour of the poor, and never contribute a farthing for their relief?

Matthew and Mark, after giving the history of this banquet, refer to the impious compact entered into by Judas with the Chief Priests, as if he wished to compensate himself for the loss of the price of the ointment, by the amount of the reward secured for his base betrayal of his Master.

Jn 12:7, 8. (See Matthew 26:7–12, Commentary on.) Will try to post by Monday.

Jn 12:9. “A great multitude,” etc. They came out from Jerusalem, not merely out of respect for our Lord, but also, out of a feeling of curiosity to see Lazarus, the fame of whose resuscitation from the grave reached far and near. They wished to see both, Lazarus resuscitated, and Jesus who had raised him.

Jn 12:10. “The Chief Priests thought”—conspired together—“to kill Lazarus also,” as well as our Lord, for the reason assigned in following verse. They were influenced purely by malice and envy, as Lazarus harmed none of them. It may be that the Chief Priests, most of them Sadducees, had another reason. Lazarus now brought back to life, would be a standing, living refutation of their doctrine, that there was no Resurrection (Acts 23:18). This does not imply a formal meeting of the Sanhedrim, as in (11:47). The Pharisees are not mentioned here, though, no doubt, they had a hand in the business. They dreaded the influence which Lazarus, now walking abroad in full life, might have on the crowds, assembled from every quarter for the Pasch.

St. Augustine (Tract 50), jeeringly derides them, and exposes their blind malice and folly, as if our Lord, who raised up the dead Lazarus, could not raise up the murdered Lazarus as well. “O stulta cogitatio ac cæca sævitia! Dominus, Christus, qui suscitare potuit mortuum, non posset occisum.” Here is the Augustine quote in full: “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.” O foolish consultation and blinded rage! Could not Christ the Lord, who was able to raise the dead, raise also the slain? When you were preparing a violent death for Lazarus, were you at the same time denuding the Lord of His power? If you think a dead man one thing, a murdered man another, look you only to this, that the Lord made both, and raised Lazarus to life when dead, and Himself when slain.

Jn 12:11. “Went away,” not out of the Synagogue, but withdrew all connexion with the murderous faction of the High Priests and Pharisees, and adhered to Jesus.

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