All_SS_of_BritainMy dearest brothers, ye have heard that the holy women, who followed the Lord in life, came with precious ointment to his sepulchre, and him whom they had loved in life they would when dead serve with human devotion.

But this deed betokens something to be done in God’s church. We who believe in the resurrection of Christ come assuredly to his sepulchre with precious ointment, if we are filled with the breath of holy virtues, and if we with the fame of good works seek our Lord.

The women who brought the ointment saw angels; for they see the heavenly angels, who with the breath of good works yearn after the upward journey.

The angel rolled the lid from the tomb; not that he would make way for Christ’s departure, but he would manifest to men that he was risen. He who came mortal to this world, born of the closed womb of the virgin, he, without doubt, might, when he arose immortal, though in a closed tomb, depart from the world.

The angel sat on the right side of the sepulchre. The right hand betokens the eternal life, and the left this present life. Rightly sat the angel on the right hand, for he manifested that Jesus had surmounted the corruptions of this present life, and was then dwelling immortal in eternity.

The messenger was clad in a shining garment, because he announced the happiness of this festival-tide, and our glories. But we ask, ours or the angels? We say verily, both ours and theirs. The resurrection of Jesus is our festival-tide, for by his resurrection he led us to the immortality for which we were created. His resurrection was bliss to the angels, because God fills up their number when he brings us to heaven.

The angel cheered the women, thus saying, “Be ye not afraid:” as if he had said thus, Let those fear who love not the advent of angels; let those be terrified who are beset with fleshly lusts, and have no joy in the host of angels.

[…] He said, “Ye seek Jesus: he is risen: he is not here.” He was not then bodily in the sepulchre, who is everywhere through his divine power. There lay the garment behind in which he had been wrapt, for he recked not of an earthly garment, after he had arisen from death. Though a dead man be wrapt in a garment, that garment does not the sooner rise again with the man, but he will be clad with the heavenly garment after his resurrection.

Ælfric of Eynsham (c. 955 – c. 1010): Homily 15 (for Easter Sunday), trans. Benjamin Thorpe; icon of All Saints of Britain and Ireland.

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