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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT
Ver. 1. Saturday evening, after the sun was set, for the sabbath began and ended with the setting sun.
Ver. 2. S. Mark says very early, the sun being now risen, whereas S. John tells us that it was yet dark. But when S. Mark says the sun was risen, he means that it began, by its approach to the horizon, to enlighten the heavens, at which time there is still darkness remaining, (according to S. John) which decreases as light approaches the earth. S. Austin.
Ver. 5. S. Matthew says the angel was sitting on the stone, whilst S. Mark says that they saw him sitting on the right side of the sepulchre. This must not surprise us; for the angel which first appeared sitting upon the stone, might have been afterwards seen by him sitting on the right side of the sepulchre. Theophy. — Perhaps the angel mentioned by S. Matthew is different from the one mentioned by S. Mark. Or it may be understood, that the women entering the monument, which may mean the enclosure of it, saw the angel sitting on the stone, which was placed on the right side of the sepulchre. S. Austin.
Ver. 9. This appearance of our Saviour is more fully related by S. John. Our Lord arose early from the monument in which he had been placed late in the evening, thus fulfilling the words of the psalmist: In the evening weeping shall have place, and in the morning gladness. Ps. xxix. Ven. Bede. — Rising early. It appears from this that our Saviour arose early, about sunrise, as was the sentiment of S. Austin; though S. Gregory seems to think that he arose at midnight, in the same manner as Samson, who was a figure of Christ, arose in the middle of the night and carried away the gates of Gaza. If we follow this opinion, we must understand the word early as referring to the verb appeared, not to the participle rising, and then the sentence will be: he rising, (having arisen) appeared early the first day of the week. The first interpretation, however, of S. Austin seems more agreeable to the text: he rising early the first day of the week, appeared, &c.
Ver. 12. He had appeared to Magdalene in the form of a gardener, and to two disciples in the form of a traveller.
Ver. 14. At length, &c. in the Latin text, taken according to the letter, is lastly, or last of all: but if we examine and compare the four gospels, this was not the last time that Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. We can only then understand it of the last time mentioned by this evangelist. — To the eleven. If this apparition (as it was the opinion of S. Augustine) was made when S. Thomas was not with them, they were only then ten, without S. Thomas and Judas. The evangelist here calls them eleven, because the apostolical college (Judas being dead) consisted of no more than eleven. And this way of speaking may be justified by diverse examples: one instance may suffice. A meeting of the Jewish sanhedrim might be called the Council of the Seventy-two, though it many times happened that all the seventy-two were not there present. Wi. — Some think that this was the last apparition of Jesus Christ, after which he quitted the earth, and ascended into heaven. V.
Ver. 16. Let those weep and lament who have not yet seen him, and in a short time they shall receive consolation. Blessed are they that weep, for they shall be comforted, S. Mat. v. S. Jerom. — Perhaps some one will say within himself, I have already believed, I shall be saved: he says true, if his faith be supported by good works; for that only is true faith, which does not contradict in works what is believed in words. S. Greg.
Ver. 19. By these words it is not to be understood that Jesus is to be confined to that particular posture of body, or that the Father has any hands, or any human shape; for God is a pure, incorporeal, and all-perfect Spirit. The image of God, as he is in himself, comes not within the reach of our mortal senses. When the Scripture, therefore, speaks of God, it uses such imagery of language as is adapted to our senses, that it may thereby convey to us some imperfect knowledge of those sublime mysteries, which are ineffable in themselves, and incomprehensible to our understanding. Thus we are informed that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, to signify that, as man, our Lord is raised to the height of glory, and to that supreme beatitude, than which there is nothing higher, and nothing greater in the whole bliss of heaven; and that he moreover holds the same sovereign dominion with the Father over all creatures; because, as God, he is equal to the Father in power, in wisdom, and in all perfection. See Pouget, p. 256. ed. in fol. — On the right hand of God. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, was not man only, but truly God, the same God with his eternal Father: and hereby is signified that the person, who took upon him human nature, and became man, is equal in dignity with the Father: he, who, as man, ascended into heaven. When S. Jerom says that most Greek copies wanted this chapter, he speaks not of chapters according to our present division, but only of the last 12 verses, which formerly made what was called a little chapter: yet these twelve verses must have been omitted in those MSS. by some negligent transcribers. Now they are found in all, both Latin and Greek copies. They are found in the Canons of Eusebius on the Gospels; in S. Jerom in several places; in S. Amb. l. iii, in Luc. tom. iii, p. 292. Ed. Paris, an. 1582, in S. Aug. l. iii, de consensu Evang. c. xxv, tom. 3, part 2, p. 142, &c. Wi. — S. Gregory of Nyssa, (orat. 2. de Resurr.) says, that the best copies of S. Mark's gospel finished with the 8th verse, a trembling and fear had seized them: En toiV akribesteroiV to Kata Markon Euaggelion mekri tou efobounto gar, ecei to teloV. It is the very generally received sentiment of the learned, that the last 12 verses were given by S. Mark; and the most probable reason yet offered for the omission of them in various copies is, that the transcribers followed a mutilated copy, where the last page was wanting. V.
Ver. 20. Let us here take notice, that, as the apostles confirmed their words by the signs that followed, so also in us must our words be confirmed by works. "Grant, O Jesus! that the discourse we deliver, concerning virtue, may be confirmed by works and actions; that thus, by thy co-operation, we may become perfect in word and work; for to Thee is due the glory of our discourses and actions." Theophylactus.
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