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Gospel for Sunday, April 07: John 20:19-31

II Sunday of Easter B

19 On the evening of that same day, the first after the Sabbath, as the doors of the place where the disciples were standing were closed for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. And the disciples rejoiced at seeing the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 After he had said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit; 23 whose sins you forgive will be forgiven, and whose sins you do not forgive will remain unforgiven.”
24 Thomas, one of the Twelve, called Dìdimo, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 Then the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and put my finger in the place of the nails and put my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 Eight days later the disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was also with them. Jesus came, behind closed doors, stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands; stretch out your hand, and put it in my side; and no longer be an unbeliever but a believer!” 28 Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are those who though they have not seen will believe!”

30 Many other signs Jesus did in the presence of his disciples, but they were not written in this book. 31 These were written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that, believing, you may have life in his name.”

Jh 20:1-9

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 Resurrection of Jesus, as we contemplated on Easter Day, is the foundation of our Faith. All people of all times will be called to confront the testimony of the Apostles who affirm that that Jesus who died ignominiously on the Cross on Friday was seen by them alive and well from Easter morning: they not only talked with him, but they saw him, touched him, and ate with him. Our Faith in Jesus will be based on whether or not we accept the word of the eyewitnesses.

Interpretations contrary to the historicity of the Resurrection

Bad faith: The assertion of bad faith by the early Christians was made only by some Jews at least from 80-85 (Mt 27-28 and the Jewish Talmuds). All others hold them in good faith.

Critical or Rationalist School: The Critical or Rationalist School, between the 1700s and 1800s, denies the supernatural and the possibility of miracles. According to this School, the apostles misinterpreted the facts both regarding Jesus’ death (apparent death: rationalists translate, “He emitted the Spirit” of Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30 as: “He fainted”), whether concerning the tomb found empty (misidentification, theft of corpse…), or Jesus’ appearances (collective hallucinations, parapsychological phenomena, deception by God who would show Jesus as risen…).

Mythical school: According to Bultmann, faith is neither based on reason but only on itself, as a gift from God: faith is self-founding. With the statement “Jesus is risen,” the Apostles only meant to say, “The cause of Jesus continues.” The second Christian community, the Greek community, interpreted Jewish or Aramaic idioms with instead mythical value in a historical sense.

Interpretations favoring historicity

The school of tradition, consisting of Catholics, Orthodox and many Protestants, has always read the texts in their historical sense.

Objections to those who argue otherwise:

– To Jews and all proponents of bad faith: does anyone give their life for a reason they know to be false?

– To the critical and mythical schools: in order to support their theses they had to assume a late date for the Gospels, a date also disproved by scientific research.

– To the critical school: God can always intervene in history, to transcend it; moreover, in Israel’s culture the idea of deifying a man was unthinkable.

– To the mythical school: Paul of Tarsus, who culturally was bilingual, in 1 Cor 15:6, speaks of Jesus’ resurrection as an authentic fact, and not as a way of saying that Jesus’ message continued in history.

Resurrection, not mere reanimation of corpse

The body of the Risen Jesus is absolutely the same as before, but at the same time it is a glorious body. Between the body of Jesus before the resurrection and the resurrected body there is continuity (can be touched: 20:20-27; eats with disciples: Lk 24:41-42; Acts 10:41), but also profound diversity (passes through walls: 20:19): “So also is the resurrection of the dead: one sows corruptible and rises incorruptible; one sows ignoble and rises glorious; one sows weak and rises full of strength; one sows an animal body, rises a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:42-45).

Believing today

The act of faith of people today involves two successive steps: 1. trust in the Church that it has handed down well the genuine teaching of the apostles. 2. trust in the apostles to tell the truth when they affirm that Jesus is risen.

When faced with the announcement of Jesus’ Resurrection, different may be our reactions:

  1. “I see that I must believe”: then the duty remains to translate Faith into consistent Christian life (Explicit Faith).
  2. “I see that I must not believe”: according to Christianity this attitude is also correct, if it arises from good faith (Rom 14): we speak in this case of implicit faith or good faith.
  3. “I remain in doubt”: Doubt can be of two types: a) motivated doubt: it occurs when there are reasons that make one suspend judgment. b) unfounded doubt: it usually arises from fear of erring in making a decision, fear of “jumping in,” of committing oneself to a new life.

Why do some people believe and others do not? Some do not believe because

  1. evangelization was done to them poorly;
  2. its credibility has not been seen;
  3. though they have seen its credibility, they do not want to believe, because they do not want to change their lives (bad faith).

“Blessed are those who though they have not seen will believe!” (Jn 20:29).

Happy Mercy to all!

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


Spazio Spadoni

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