For Galilee means a passing over from death to life; for our Redeemer had already passed from His Passion to His resurrection, from death unto life. And He is seen first by His disciples after His resurrection in Galilee, because we shall have joy in seeing the glory of His resurrection, if only we pass over from vice to the heights of virtue. He, then, who is announced at the tomb is shown in passing over; because He who is first known in mortification of the flesh is seen in this passing over of the soul.
On the morning of the Glorious Resurrection of Christ, the angel tells the women to tell the Apostles that Christ would go before them into Galilee. Why would Christ desire to go to Galilee rather than remain in Jerusalem? After all, we might presume that it would be better to remain in Jerusalem. In the city of Jerusalem, Christ would have more witnesses to the resurrection.
On the contrary, Christ purposed to go to Galilee. Cornelius a Lapide gives three reasons for this:
1) He goeth before you into Galilee. First, because Galilee was the native country of the Apostles, to which, after the death of Jesus, they were purposing to return, that they might live more safely among their own relations.
2) Secondly, because in Galilee Christ willed to show Himself openly to all His assembled disciples. For the Jews would not have permitted them to assemble in Judæa.
3) Thirdly, because in Galilee Christ had for the most part preached, and had performed very many miracles.
St. Gregory (Hom. 21) continues on the mystical reason for going to Galilee:
Yet Christ appeared to the Apostles in Judæa also, but secretly; in Galilee publicly.
Here is the historical order of events:
In the historical order of the events must be brought in here what Luke mentions (chap. xxiv. 3), namely, that Magdalene and her companions, while at the invitation of the angel they had entered the sepulchre and seen that it was empty, yet were affrighted; on account of which the angels cheered them, and at the same time gently reproved their want of faith. For that Luke’s account is not the same as that of Matthew and Mark, as some think, is clear from the words themselves, which are evidently different. Also, from the circumstance that in Luke two angels are said to have appeared, while in Matthew and Mark only one is mentioned.