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Gospel for Sunday, April 24: John 20: 19-31

II Easter C

19In the evening of that same day, the first after the Sabbath, while the doors of the place where the disciples were were closed for fear of the Jews, Jesus came, stopped among them and said: “Peace be with you!”. 20Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. And the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit; 23whose sins you forgive will be forgiven, and whose sins you will not forgive, they will remain unforgiven.” 24Thomas, one of the Twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25The other disciples then said to him: “We have seen the Lord!”. But he said to them, “Unless I see the marks of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 26Eight days later the disciples were back in the house and Thomas was also with them. Jesus came, behind closed doors, stopped among them and said: “Peace be with you!”. 27Then 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!” 28Thomas replied: “My Lord and my God!”. 29Jesus said to him: “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe!” 30Many other signs Jesus did in the presence of his disciples, but they are not written in this book. 31These were written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20: 19-31

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 deal with the testimony of the Apostles who affirm that the Jesus who died ignominiously on the Cross on Friday was seen by them alive and well starting on Easter morning: not only did they speak with him, but he they saw him, they touched him, they ate with him. Our Faith in Jesus will be based on whether or not we accept the word of eyewitnesses.

Interpretations contrary to the historicity of the Resurrection

Bad faith: The affirmation of the bad faith of the first Christians was made only by some Jews at least starting from 80-85 (Mt 27-28 and the Jewish Talmuds). All the others believe them to be in good faith.

Critical or rationalist school: The critical or rationalist school, between the 18th and 19th centuries, denies the supernatural and the possibility of miracles. According to this School, the apostles were wrong in interpreting the facts both regarding the death of Jesus (apparent death: the rationalists translate: “He sent forth the Spirit” of Mt 27.50; Mk 15.37; Lk 23.46; Jn 19 ,30 as: “He fainted”), than regarding the tomb found empty (mistake of identification, theft of a corpse…), or about the apparitions of Jesus (collective hallucinations, parapsychological phenomena, deception on the part of God who would have shown Jesus as risen… ).

Mythical school: According to Bultmann, faith is not based on reason but only on itself, as a gift from God: faith is self-founded. With the statement “Jesus is risen”, the Apostles only wanted to say: “The cause of Jesus continues”. The second Christian community, the Greek one, interpreted in a historical sense Jewish or Aramaic ways of saying that had a mythical value.

Interpretations favorable to historicity

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

Objections to those who support the opposite theory:

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

– To the critical and mythical schools: to support their theses they had to hypothesize a late dating for the Gospels, a dating also denied by scientific research.

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

– At the mythical school: Paul of Tarsus, who was culturally bilingual, in 1 Cor 15.6, speaks of the resurrection of Jesus as an authentic fact, and not as a way of saying that the message of Jesus continued in history.

Resurrection, not simple resuscitation of a corpse

The body of the Risen Jesus is absolutely the same as before, but at the same time it is a glorious body. There is continuity between the body of Jesus before the resurrection and the resurrected body (it can be touched: 20.20-27; he eats with the disciples: Luke 24.41-42; Acts 10.41), but also profound diversity ( passes through walls: 20,19): “So also the resurrection of the dead: it is sown corruptible and is raised incorruptible; it is sown ignobly and resurrected glorious, it is sown weak and resurrected full of strength; an animal body is sown, a spiritual body is raised” (1 Cor 15,42-45).

Believe today

The act of faith of today’s men implies two subsequent steps: 1. trust in the Church which has handed down the genuine teaching of the apostles well. 2. trust in the apostles who tell the truth when they say that Jesus was resurrected.

Faced with the announcement of the Resurrection of Jesus, our reactions may be different:

  1. “I see that I must believe”: the duty then remains to translate the Faith into coherent 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): in this case we speak of implicit faith or good faith.
  3. “I remain in doubt”: Doubt can be of two types: a) motivated doubt: occurs when there are reasons that cause judgment to be suspended. b) unmotivated doubt: generally arises from the fear of making a mistake in making a decision, from the fear of “diving in”, of committing to a new life.

Why do some believe and others not? Some don’t believe, because

  1. evangelization was done to them badly;
  2.  its credibility was not seen;
  3. despite having seen its credibility, they do not want to believe, because they do not want to change their lives (bad faith).

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet 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


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