[quote="dronald, post:5, topic:334093"]
I do like your answer, that perhaps Jesus healed them and they entered "the holy city." Now, would people have known who these people were? What did they do after they entered Jerusalem?
As to literal interpretations, St. Jerome says "the holy city" could be either the heavenly or earthly Jerusalem, while the "appearing to many" emphasizes that now happened only a particular resurrection instead of the general one. According to St. Remigius their mission was to bear witness to the Resurrection of Christ and probably ascended to Heaven with Him. Spiritually, Origen makes many relevant points here as he teaches the events after the death of Christ resemble how God works His graces in us during our daily lives. We could also consider these to be effects of the Holy Mass, as especially through it the merits of the Cross are applied to people. For example he takes the graves to symbolize sinful souls who convert, become Saintly and start to testify for God, and the rocks renting being able to realize hidden meanings in the Old Testament Prophets. One may see alternative symbolisms as well, like the rocks meaning conversion as in Ezekiel 36:26, *"I will give you a new heart, and breathe a new spirit into you; I will take away from your breasts those hearts that are hard as stone, and give you human hearts instead." *
Catena Aurea St. Matthew 27:51-56:
Jerome: As Lazarus rose from the dead, so also did many bodies of the Saints rise again to shew forth the Lord’s resurrection; yet notwithstanding that the graves were opened, they did not rise again before the Lord rose, that He might be the first-born of the resurrection from the dead.
“The holy city” in which they were seen after they had risen may be understood to mean either the heavenly Jerusalem, or this earthly, which once had been holy. For the city of Jerusalem was called Holy on account of the Temple and the Holy of Holies, and to distinguish it from other cities in which idols were worshipped.
When it is said, “And appeared unto many,” it is signified that this was not a general resurrection which all should see, but special, seen only by such as were worthy to see it.
Remig.: But some one will ask, what became of those who rose again when the Lord rose. We must believe that they rose again to be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection. Some have said that they died again, and were turned to dust, as Lazarus and the rest whom the Lord raised. But we must by no means give credit to these men’s sayings, since if they were to die again, it would be greater torment to them, than if they had not risen again. We ought therefore to believe without hesitation that they who rose from the dead at the Lord’s resurrection, ascended also into heaven together with Him.
Origen: These same mighty works are still done every day; the veil of the temple is rent for the Saints, in order to reveal the things that are contained within. The earthquakes, that is, all flesh because of the new word and new things of the New Testament. The rocks are rent, i.e. the mystery of the Prophets, that we may see the spiritual mysteries bid in their depths. The graves are the bodies of sinful souls, that is, souls dead to God; but when by God’s grace these souls have been raised, their bodies which before were graves, become [p. 965] bodies of Saints, and appear to go out of themselves, and follow Him who rose again, and walk with Him in newness of life; and such as are worthy to have their conversation in heaven enter into the Holy City at divers times, and appear unto many who see their good works.