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446 SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM Homily 86 (John 20.10-23) 'The disciples therefore went away again to their home. But Mary was standing outside weeping at the tomb.'! How tender-hearted and inclined to sympathy is womankind ! I am mentioning this that you may not wonder why in the world it was that, while Mary was weeping bitterly at the tomb, Peter displayed no such emotion. 'The disciples,' the Evangelist stated, 'went away to their home, while she remained standing there weeping.' She did this because she was by nature very easily discouraged , and she did not yet understand clearly the doctrine of the Resurrection as the others did. On seeing the linen cloths, they believed that Christ had risen, and they went away to their home, mute with awe. Yet why did they not go away at once to Galilee, as they had been bidden to do before the Passion? Perhaps they were waiting for the rest to come, or else they were still in a state of great bewilderment. At any rate, they went away, while she remained standing at the spot. Even the sight of the tomb was a great source of consolation , as I have said. Do you see that, the better to revive her courage, she leaned forward and tried to look at the spot where the body had lain? Therefore, she received no small reward for her great earnestness. For, it was the woman who first saw what the disciples had not seen: namely, angels sitting, one at the feet and the other at the head, in white, and with a manner radiating great brightness and joy. Since the woman was not sufficiently spiritual-minded to grasp the fact of the Resurrection from the grave-clothes, further evidence was added and she beheld angels sitting in bright array, so as to afford her gradual relief from the suffering caused by the empty tomb, and to give her consolation. 1 John 20.10,11. HOMILIES 447 However, they said nothing to her of the Resurrection, but led her on only by degrees to this teaching. She beheld their shining faces-out of the ordinary in their brightness; she beheld their splendid appearance; she heard a sympathetic voice. What did it say? 'Woman, why art thou weeping?' And by means of all these things, as if through a door gradually opening, little by little she was brought to an understanding of the Resuirection. Moreover, the way they were seated led her to question them, for they certainly appeared to know what had taken place. For this reason they were not sitting together, but separated from one another. Since it was not likely that she would venture to begin the inquiry herself, they led her to start conversing with them by asking her a question and also by the way they were sitting. What reply, then, did she make? She spoke warmly and tenderly: 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.' What are you saying? Do you not yet know about the Resurrection? Are you still thinking about the location of the body? Do you perceive that she had not yet accepted this sublime doctrine? 'When she had said this she turned around.' But how was it logical for her to turn around, when she had just begun to talk with them and had not yet heard any information from them? It seems to me that as she said these words, Christ suddenly appeared behind her and startled the angels who, on beholding the Master, immediately showed by their attitude, by their gaze, and by their movements , that they were looking at the Lord. This awakened the curiosity of the woman and caused her to turn around. He appeared to the angels, then, as He was,2 but did not show Himself to the woman in the same way, so as not to awe her from the start by the sight. On the contrary, He appeared to her under a humble and ordinary guise. And it 2 That is, in His glorified body. 448 SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM is evident from her words that she even thought He was a gardener. However, it was not desirable to lead so lowly a person as this woman suddenly to lofty considerations, but, rather, to do so gradually. Therefore, He in His turn asked: 'Woman, why are thou weeping? Whom dost thou seek?' This implied that He knew what she desired to...


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