THE LORD APPEARS TO THE WOMEN.
Now it was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the other women that were with them, that told these things to the Apostles.' And these words seemed to them as an idle tale, and they did not believe in them." ( Luke xxiv. 8-9.)
" And in the end of the Sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 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. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the Angel answering said to the women. 'Fear not, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen as he said. Come and see the place where the Lord was laid. 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 they went out quickly from the sepulchre, with fear and great joy running to tell his disciples. And behold Jesus met them saying, 'All hail.' But they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them " Be not afraid. Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me."
"Now when they were departed, behold some of the guards came into the city and told the chief priests all the things that had been done. And they being assembled together with the ancients, having taken counsel, they gave a great sum of money to the soldiers, saying: 'Say you that his disciples came by night and stole him away when we were sleeping.' And if the governor shall hear of this, we will persuade him and secure you. So saying they took the money, and did as they were taught. And this word was spread abroad among the Jews even unto this day." (Matt. xxviii. 1-15.)
While this is taking place Mary Magdalen, who had not yet seen Jesus, is running up the Sion street to the Cenacle. "Mary Magdalene ran therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to them. 'They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.' Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple and they came to the sepulchre. And they both did run together, and that other disciple outran Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying, but yet he went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went in to the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying. And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre, and he saw and believed. For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their home." (John xx. 1-10.)
As soon as Mary Magdalene told the disciples, she ran back to the tomb. She was filled with fear thinking that the body had been stolen. " But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping, whilst she was then weeping, she stooped down and looked into the sepulchre. And she saw two Angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. They say to her: «Woman, why weepest thou ?' She saith to them, 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they laid him." When she had said these words, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her: 'Woman, why weepest thou ? Whom seekest thou ?' She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: 'Sir, if thou hast taken him away, tell me where thou hast laid him and I will take him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She turning saith to him, Rabboni (that is, "My Master"), Jesus saith to her: 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.' Mary Magdalene cometh telling the disciples: 'I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.'" (John xx. 1-18.)
"The Lord's day then having dawned, the chief priests along with the Jews called a council, and sent to take Joseph out of the prison in order to put him to death.
But having opened it they found him not. And they were astonished at this—how with the doors shut, and the bolts safe, and the seals unbroken, Joseph had disappeared.
"And upon this there came up one of the soldiers guarding the tomb, and he said in the synagogue: 'Learn then that Jesus has risen.' The Jews say : l How ?' And he said: "First there was an earthquake, then an Angel of the Lord, clothed with lightning, came from heaven, and rolled the stone from the tomb and sat upon it. And from fear of him all of us soldiers became as dead, and we were able neither to flee or to speak. And we heard the Angels saying to the women, who came there to see the tomb : 'Be not afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus. He is not here, he is risen, as he told you before. Bend down and see the tomb where his body lay, but go and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and let them go into Galilee, for there they shall find him. For this reason I tell you first.'
"The Jews said to the soldiers: 4 What sort of women were they who came to the tomb ? and why did you not lay hold of them ?' The soldiers said: 'From the fear and the sight of the Angel, we were neither able to speak or to move.' The Jews said: 'As the Lord God of Israel liveth we do not believe a word you say.' The soldiers said: c Jesus did so great wonders, and you did not believe, and are yon going to believe us ? You say truly that God liveth, and certainly he whom you crucified truly liveth. But we have heard that you had Joseph shut up in the prison, and that you afterwards opened the doors and did not find him. Do you then present Joseph and we also shall produce Jesus.'
"The Jews said: 'Joseph that fled from prison you will find in Arimathea, his own country.' And the soldiers said ' Go you too into Galilee and you will find Jesus, as the Angel said to the women.' At these words the Jews were afraid, and said to the soldiers: 'See that you tell this story to nobody, or all will believe in Jesus.'
" And for this reason they gave them also much money. And the soldiers said : "We are afraid lest by any chance Pilate hear that we have taken money, and he will kill us.' And the Jews said: 'Take it, and we pledge ourselves that we shall speak to Pilate in your defense. Only say that you were asleep, and in your slumber the disciples of Jesus came and stole him from the tomb.' The soldiers therefore took the money, and said as they were bid. And up to this day, this same lying tale is told among the Jews." (Nich. Gospel, Acts of Pilate. Second Greek Form, n. 12, 13.)
How he appeared to Mary, St. John gives with minute details. (John 9-18.) He asked her not to touch him, for now all human affection and tenderness had ended. He was in the realm of spirits. " Cling not to me," the Greek words of the Gospel say. In that abode of bliss when she was dead she could " cling to him" in eternity, in the beatific vision. He appeared to her, for she was the greatest sinner among his followers. In her Aramaic tongue she exclaimed, "Rabboni," " My Most Rev. Master." (Farrars Life of Christ, V. II. p. 15.)