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Gospel for Friday, April 2: John 18-19


20Among those who had come up for worship during the festival there were also some Greeks. 21They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him: “Sir, we want to see Jesus”. 22Philip went to tell Andrew, and then Andrew and Philip went to tell Jesus. 23Jesus answered them: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25Whoever loves their life loses it and whoever hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone wants to serve me, let him follow me, and where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. 27Now my soul is troubled; what will I say? Father, save me from this hour? But this is precisely why I have come to this hour! 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified him and I will glorify him again!”. 29The crowd, who were present and had heard, said that it had been thunder. Others said: “An angel spoke to him.” 30Jesus said: “This voice did not come for me, but for you. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the prince of this world will be thrown out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw everyone to me”. 33He said this to indicate the death he was to die.

John 18-19

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The story of the Passion and Death of Jesus has, in the Gospel of John, some specific characteristics, with the underlining of some themes.

The garden

The passage begins and ends with the mention of a garden (18.1: Gethsemane; 19.41-42: the tomb), a clear reference to Eden where the first great struggle between good and evil took place; but in the Jewish tradition the garden is Israel itself, and in a garden the Messiah will lead the righteous at the end of time (Paradise derives from the Persian pairi-daeza, which means “royal garden”).

The “rising”

Three times Jesus announces his “rising”, hypsothènai (3.1-4-15; 8.28; 12.32). In the Old Testament “to lift up” means to exalt, glorify, sometimes to reign (Is 52,13; 1 Mac 8; 11,16): “to lift up” is used in Nm 21 for the bronze serpent that gives healing to all those affected by snake bites. In the New Testament it essentially refers to the Ascension (Acts 2.33). For John it meant glorification, royalty, salvation.

The “end times” have already begun

a) The final judgment in John is not a sentence of eternal reward or condemnation, nor the coming of the Son amidst cosmic upheavals. But Jesus, the one who is called to judge, does not issue any sentence, but leaves it up to men, in complete freedom, to welcome him and save themselves or to reject him and damn themselves (Jn 3,18-21);

b) the Church is the true eschatological Israel, the community of the Messiah (Is 2.2-5; 4.2; 11.1-11; Jer 23.2-6; 31.7-11; Mic 2.12- 13): Jesus is the only shepherd expected for the end of time (10.11; 11.51-52), the Church is his undivided tunic (19.23-24), a new people is born under the Cross, represented by Mary and John (19.25-27).

Christ reigns from the wood

In the Old Testament only God reigns over Israel (Ps royals, 1 Sam 8 …): even the earthly king is only a representative of him: only the Messiah will have part of the royal power (Ps 110). In the two chapters of the Passion the word “king” appears about ten times and there are many “royal” scenes (Jesus’ explicit affirmation of his kingship: 18.37; the crowning with thorns and the purple cloak: 19.2; the mockery of the “King of the Jews”: 19.3; the “Ecce homo”: 19.4-5; the title on the cross of “King of the Jews”: 19.19-22; the cross as throne of the Messiah King…). For John, Jesus’ death on the cross is actually the enthronement of him as Lord of the universe: Jesus is “the Lord who reigns from the tree” (Ps 96.10).

The cross is the fulfillment of the “hour” of Jesus

On the cross the great descending movement of the Word takes place, who truly became flesh and who now, in a great ascending movement, brings all creaturely finitude into the infinity of God.

Jesus is Lord also in the Passion

Jesus is always the protagonist of the events, already foreseen by him (18.4) and freely accepted and conducted (18.5-9; 13.27; 19.17…): therefore John, unlike the synoptics, it omits everything that may seem not “royal” in the Passion of Jesus (the agony in Gethsemane and the sweating of blood, the kiss of Judas, the flight of the disciples, the spitting and the beatings on the head, the cry of the dying Jesus… .).

The cross is the definitive “sign”.

The Cross is the supreme Revelation of God, his maximum and definitive intervention in the transformation of history.

Contemplate the Crucifix

To understand the essence of God, his deepest intimacy, which is only love, tenderness, gift, Pope Francis invites us to contemplate the Crucifix: “«When you have raised the Son of Man, then you will know that I am» ( Jn 8,21-30)… Here is the key to our salvation, the key to our patience on the journey of life, the key to overcoming our deserts: looking at the crucifix. Looking at Christ crucified… Look at him. Look at the sores. Enter the wounds. By those wounds we were healed. Do you feel poisoned, do you feel sad, do you feel that your life is not going well, is it full of difficulties and even illness? Look at them. In silence. Look. But look, in those moments look at the ugly crucifix, that is, the real one: because artists have made beautiful, artistic crucifixes, even some are made of gold, of precious stones. It is not always worldly: that means the glory of the cross, the glory of the resurrection. But when you feel this way, look at this: before the glory… Teach your children to look at both, both the crucifix and the glory of Christ. Especially in bad moments, in difficult moments, poisoned a little by having said in our heart some disappointment against God, we must especially look at the wounds. Christ raised like the serpent of Numbers 21.4-9: because he became a serpent, he destroyed himself completely to overcome “the” evil serpent”.

In “Gaudete et exsultate” the Pope says: “When you feel the temptation to get entangled in your weakness, raise your eyes to the Crucifix and say to him: «Lord, I am a poor thing, but you can perform the miracle of making me a little better»” ; “We remember that «it is the contemplation of the face of the dead and risen Jesus that recomposes our humanity, even that fragmented by the hardships of life, or marked by sin. We must not tame the power of the face of Christ.” So let me ask you: are there moments in which you place yourself in his presence in silence, remain with Him without haste, and let yourself be looked at by Him? Do you let his fire set your heart on fire? If you do not allow Him to nourish the warmth of love and tenderness in it, you will not have fire, and so how will you be able to set the hearts of others on fire with your testimony and your words? And if before the face of Christ you still cannot let yourself be healed and transformed, then penetrate the bowels of the Lord, enter his wounds, because divine mercy has its seat there” (nn. 15; 151).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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