St. Peter Chrysologus: “The force of his love overcomes and surpasses all…”

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St. Peter Chrysologus on Christ’s appearance to the faithful women on Easter Day:

While they were going, the Lord “met them” and said, “Hail!” When he meets them, he does not frighten them with his power but comes before them with the ardor of his love. He does not startle them with his authority but greets them warmly. He binds them by the covenant of the bridegroom, not by the right of the ruler. He honors them with the love of a brother. He greets them with a gracious salutation. At one time he said to his disciples, “Salute no one on the road.” So why is it that here along the way this visitor is so quick to salute them? He does not wait to be recognized. He does not demand to be understood. He does not allow himself to be questioned. Rather, he extends this greeting immediately, enthusiastically. He did this because the force of his love overcomes and surpasses all. Furthermore, by doing so Christ himself greets the church. He makes its very heart to be his own and thus receives its body into his own, as the apostle says, “And he is the head of the body, the church.” This greeting itself evidently shows that the full figure of the church abides in these women. They are contrasted with those disciples whom Christ scolds who were wavering over the resurrection. He quells their fears by showing his side and the deep holes from the nails. By taking food, he now restores their faith.

[From the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, John 11-21, Joel C. Elowsky, ed. (Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove, IL: 2007) p. 309]

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