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Gospel for Sunday, December 13: John 1: 6-8.19-28

III SUNDAY OF ADVENT

6A man sent by God came: his name was John. 7He came as a witness to bear witness to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but he had to bear witness to the light… 19And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him: “Who are you?”. 20He confessed and did not deny. He confessed: “I am not the Christ.” 21Then they asked him: “Who are you, then? Are you Elijah?”. “I’m not,” he said. “Are you the prophet?”. “No,” he replied. 22Then they said to him: “Who are you? So that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He replied: “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24Those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25They questioned him and said to him: “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26John answered them: “I baptize with water. Among you is someone whom you do not know, 27he who comes after me: I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal”.28This happened in Bethany, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John 1: 6-8.19-28

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

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

While Matthew and John 21 place the first appearance of the Risen Jesus in Galilee, today’s Gospel (John 20,19-31), like Luke and Mark 16, presents it in Jerusalem. The scheme is the classic one of apparition stories: a) the miserable situation of the disciples is described (v. 19); b) the sudden manifestation is recounted (v. 19); c) there is a greeting (v. 19); d) recognition occurs (v. 19); e) ends with a command (vv. 21-23).

The two apparitions told to us in today’s Gospel take place on the first day after the Sabbath (vv. 19.26). The reference is liturgical: Christians, aware of the centrality of the Resurrection, gather to celebrate it on its weekly occasion (Acts 20.7; 1 Cor 16.2), underlining not only the detachment from Judaism, but above all that the Eucharist Sunday is the place of encounter with the Risen One (Rev 1,10).

The Risen Jesus brings gifts to his followers: these donations are not only for the Apostles, but for all believers (Lk 24.33).

The first gift is peace and joy: “Jesus stopped among them and said: «Peace be with you!». Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. And the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (Jn 20:19-20; cf. Rev 19:7; 21:3-4). Peace is the cosmic reconciliation with God and with all men which is a harbinger of profound joy even in pain. “The Resurrection of Jesus is not only what awaits us after death; it is a present Easter event, which takes place day after day in the one who believes and hopes, who suffers and loves, who lets himself be guided by the Word in his daily life to follow Jesus who, through passion and death, makes the transition from this world to the Father” (C. M. Martini).

The second gift is the mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn 20, 21): Christians are a people of sent, of apostles. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council reiterated: “The pilgrim Church is by its nature missionary” (Ad Gentes, n. 2); and invited “each community… to broaden the vast network of its charity to the ends of the earth, demonstrating for those who are far away the same concern it has for those who are its own members” (id., n. 37 ). The mission is therefore a constitutive, integral part of the life of the Church: we are not called to an individual salvation, but we have been saved to save, consoled to console, liberated to liberate.

The third gift is the Holy Spirit “breathed” on the disciples, perhaps a trace of an ancient ordination rite: “After saying this, he breathed on them and said: «Receive the Holy Spirit»” (Jn 18.22: cf. 14 ,26; 16,7): it is a prophetic consecration (Jn 17,18-19), it is a new creation (Gen 2,7; Wis 15,11; Ez 37,4-5), it is the baptism of the disciples (Jn 3 ,5).

The fourth gift is the power to forgive: “Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven, and whose sins you will not forgive, they will remain unforgiven” (Jn 20.23: cf. Mt 16.19; 18.18): not only “sacramental” forgiveness ”, but also the reciprocal one (Mt 6.12; 18.22) and the reconciliation of the world (Mk 16.15-16; Lk 24.47).

In chapter 20 of the Gospel of John we are presented with four examples of faith in the Resurrection: the beloved disciple, who believes immediately upon seeing the empty tomb and the bandages on the ground (Jn 20.3-8); Mary of Magdala, who saw the angels at the tomb but who believes only when the Lord appears to her calling her by her name (Jn 20,11-18); the frightened disciples, to whom the risen Christ manifests himself, showing the signs of the Passion on his body (Jn 20,19-25); Thomas’ story is instead a dramatization of the theme of doubt (Jn 20,24-29). But Jesus, with the only macarism, or beatitude, present in the Gospel of John (together with 13.17) proclaims “blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”.

Whoever meets the Risen One in his life and receives his gifts becomes a missionary to bring joy, peace, forgiveness and the very Love of God to all men.

Happy Mercy to all!

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

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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