Saturday, 18 May 2019



May 19th 2019.  Fifth Sunday of Easter
GOSPEL   John 13:31-33A, 34-35
Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio
Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

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GOSPEL   John 13:31-33A, 34-35
When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another."
The Gospel of the LordPraise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Kieran’s summary . . . In the Gospel, Judas leaves the Upper Room to betray Jesus, and Jesus immediately begins talking about the glory of God! It might seem like a strange thing to talk about glory just before the moment of betrayal and ignominious crucifixion. We think of glory in terms of the vain hype and spectacle of the sporting or entertainment worlds. But the Hebrew word for “glory” refers to the weight or value of a thing. The glory of God is related to his love. It is at this very moment that Jesus gives his new commandment: to love one another as he has loved us. In the Old Testament, I was asked to love my neighbour as myself. I was the measure of love. Now, with Jesus, everything changes. His sacrificial love becomes the measure of true love. How am I to achieve this kind of love? With willpower? With my own efforts and capacities? No! Unfortunately many people in the Church continue to believe that it is a matter of effort and application. But love that depends on my own capacities will never arise above mediocrity. It is only when we are invaded by the love that Christ has for us that we become capable of loving in return. When we are immersed in Jesus, he begins to love in us. A valley echoes back a voice which comes from outside of itself. We must become like valleys that echo back the love of God. Like a valley, we do not produce the sound, but we do have the capacity to make it reverberate! A true Christian is not distinguished by his wonderful personal talents, but by the fact that he echoes back the love that he has encountered in Christ. This is the glory of God, this is the glory of Easter, a passage from an existence based on myself, to an existence based on the love that Jesus has for me.

What is God’s glory? A big show of light and sound?
Judas leaves the Upper Room and at that moment Jesus begins a strange line of discourse: "Now the Son of man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him". What is the connection between the glory of Jesus and Judas who betrays him? What is the glory of God? Does it involve a big external show of light and sound? No! In Hebrew "glory" means the weight of a thing, its substance, its truth. The glory of God, its specific weight, is love. This is why the liturgy this Sunday is careful to include the mention of the person of Judah in the Gospel. The Lord loves this man who will lead him to being massacred. Jesus continues to love the one who is about to sell him out for money. It is in the light of utter benevolence towards Judas (and towards each one of us) that Jesus speaks of his glory.

A new measure of love: we are no longer the parameter for true love; Jesus sacrificial offering becomes the yardstick
It is in such a dramatic context that the new commandment is given: "love one another, as I have loved you ..." This is very distinct from the old commandment of the Old Testament: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself". Here the parameter of love was myself: as I love myself, so I must love my neighbour. With Jesus’ new instruction, everything changes: we are still asked to love one another, but not as we love ourselves. Now we are asked to love as Jesus loves us. The criterion of love is not found in us but in Him. After Jesus' Passover, the disciples will have time to look back and understand that each of them, like Judas, was loved by Jesus despite his defects. In fact, all of them failed but all were loved regardless. What is the meaning of this Easter time we are celebrating? It is the passage from an existence based on ourselves to a new parameter of existence - the love that Christ has for us. It is an entrance into the glory of God, which allows us to love, not in the impoverished way that we love ourselves, but as He alone knows how to do.

When love remains a mediocre effort
How many, even in the Church, are deceived and tortured into believing that love is a matter of willpower! So long as I continue to think that love originates in my own abilities and is based on my individual characteristics, it will never take me beyond myself. Love that depends purely on my capacities will never arise above mediocrity. Christ alone shatters this closed circle, loving us in a way that goes beyond our narrow logic.  In Jesus, we find ourselves visited by a love that is greater than ourselves. And once we are invaded by his love, we discover that Christ loves in us. He knows us and knows that we are fragile and weak. Our love becomes one of response to His. Think of it the following way. In certain valleys, if one shouts aloud, the cry resounds with an echo. What is it that comes back? The sound of our own voice. This is what God does in us. He loves us and we are like a valley, which receives a sound from outside of itself. We do not produce the sound on our own, but we do have the capacity to make it reverberate. Christians are not distinguished by their personal skills, but by the fact that they are an echo of the love they have encountered. They do not love because they are so capable, but because they themselves have been loved. They have seen the glory of God, his limitless mercy, the love that Jesus manifested in his Passover. This is what makes them suitable bearers of gratitude and forgiveness.

Friday, 10 May 2019



May 12th 2019.  Fourth Sunday of Easter
GOSPEL   John 10:27-30
Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio
Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

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GOSPEL   John 10:27-30
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
The Gospel of the LordPraise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Kieran’s summary . . . This Gospel tells us so much about the spiritual life and about true discipleship! How are we to follow Jesus? How do we encourage others to follow Jesus? Should we give them a moral lecture, telling them all the norms that they need to observe? Should we frighten them into submission, warning them about the dangers of not following Jesus? All too often, our preaching has been of this sort! But in the Gospel for today, Jesus outlines a completely different way. He tells us that his sheep hear his voice. He knows them and they follow him. As a consequence, he gives them life, and this life leads them into communion with the Father. There is no imposition here or blind obedience! In fact, the Hebrew word for “obey” means “to listen”. Jesus speaks his word to us. If we are receptive to that word, then it penetrates within us and we feel known and understood by the Lord. This is what prompts us to follow Jesus! Of all the five senses, listening is the most important when it comes to receiving the Lord’s word. This listening leads us to be known by the Lord. To be known in Hebrew does not mean to have knowledge but to be in an intimate relationship. The foundation of my stability and security derives from my memories of the times when I have felt known and understood by the Lord. Let us cultivate our memory of these occasions! My weakness and my misery are not decisive! What is decisive is that the Lord has spoken his word to me, that he knows and loves me, and that he calls me to follow him in freedom.

Jesus is not looking for mechanical obedience from us; he is looking for true listening and openness to his word
The analogy of the sheep and the shepherd illuminates the relationship between God and us: the sheep recognize the voice of the shepherd and they find pasture by his guidance. So too for us the sense of listening is vital: for faith, listening is the most important of the five senses, since the relationship with the Lord is conveyed by the reception of his word. In Hebrew the verb "to obey" does not exist. Instead, the verb "to listen" is used, because true listening implies an authentic openness to what the other person is saying. But for Jesus this listening leads to the deepest level, that of "knowing", which in Hebrew does not mean having information about someone or something, but being in an intimate relationship with someone. Being known by Jesus means experiencing intimacy with him and it is this which leads us to follow him.

We are called to follow Jesus, not in the sense of superficially agreeing with some code of behaviour, but because we listen to him and are loved by him
How beautiful it is when someone understands us deeply! Love implies understanding and the ability to perceive what is in the innermost centre of the other, in his heart. Jesus knows us - even if we do not fully know ourselves - and it is He alone who knows how to reveal our true identity. We are Christians not because we are superficially in agreement with what Jesus says, but because we feel known to him. Following him flows naturally from listening to his word and experiencing the relationship with him, which is something indelible and which marks us in a permanent and beautiful way.

The Lord speaks his word to me. If I receive that word with openness then I will know myself to be visited and understood by the Lord. This is the foundation of my self-confidence. The eternal has visited me. My misery and weakness are no longer decisive
The stability of our existence derives from our memory of the occasions in which we felt visited and understood by the Lord. If we succeed in keeping alive in our hearts the memory of such moments, no one will be able to shake us, because we are those sheep who "will not be lost ". In fact, that which is eternal has entered us through the word we have heard and through what we have celebrated in the sacraments. That I am weak and miserable matters less than the fact that Jesus really loved me. No-one can erase this fact that is written in my heart.

The word that the Lord is speaking to us draws us into unity with the Father and with each other. We may be anxious sometimes, but if Jesus is our shepherd then no harm can befall us. We must stick close to him and he will draw us into communion with the Father
And there is more: to know Jesus is to know the Father, or He who is "greater". There is always a certain anxiety lurking in our hearts, but to be Jesus' sheep means, precisely, to experience the Father who "is greater than all", and no one can tear anything from the hand of the Father. Saint Paul says: "If God is for us, who will be against us?" (Rom 8:31). No power in heaven and on earth, including death, can separate us from God's love. How much we torture ourselves with useless anxieties! We are like sheep that move away from the shepherd to affirm our independence, but all we succeed in doing is reducing our existence to a great chaotic struggle. Instead, we are called to live united to the very simplicity of God, hidden in that grand final phrase - "The Father and I are one" - which opens to communion without limits and to complete unity. This unity is love and it is the secret of God. We were born to receive a word from the Lord that makes us feel known (“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me . .”). That word leads us to the union that only the love of God can create. Union with Him and between us.

Friday, 3 May 2019



May 5th 2019.  Third Sunday of Easter
GOSPEL   John 21:1-19
Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio
Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

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GOSPEL   John 21:1-19
At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
They said to him, "We also will come with you."
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?"
They answered him, "No."
So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something."
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord."
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught."
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast."
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?"
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs."
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep."
Jesus said to him the third time,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time,
"Do you love me?" and he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."
Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go."
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."
The Gospel of the LordPraise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Kieran’s summary . . . The disciples have gone back fishing but they are catching nothing. Isn’t this often true in the life of the Church? How often we seem to be doing nothing, having no results, going nowhere! Why does that happen? Because we take our eyes off the risen Lord! When Jesus appears and tells the disciples to throw the nets in a new direction, then a bountiful catch results. It is when we cease depending on our own egos and become attentive to the word of the Lord, that our lives become fruitful. But that is not all that happens in this Gospel. Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Thus he leads Peter through a process of correction and healing for the threefold denial at the Passion. In fact, at the beginning of this Gospel, Peter was behaving just as he had during the Passion! He said, “I’m going fishing!” It is the old impetuous Peter who is following his own will. Jesus calls Peter to stop relying on himself and instead allow himself to “stretch out his hands and be led where he does not want to go”. In fact, the last line of this passage is, “Follow me!” This lesson is for all Christians. It is only when we cease to rely on ourselves and follow the Lord that our lives begin to bear fruit.

The apostles seem lost. They have gone back fishing but they are catching nothing. The Church often seems to be ineffective? Why? Because we fail to keep our eyes on the risen Christ.
The twenty-first chapter of John’s Gospel narrates the situation of the Church after the Resurrection of Christ in a symbolic and profound way. Simon Peter goes fishing with his brothers, but things do not go well and they catch nothing. In every age of history, there are times when the Church is ineffective, misunderstood and apparently lost. But why? The text deals precisely with this question, telling of an occasion when the risen Lord appears but is not recognized. The disciples’ failure to recognize him is not because of his inaccessibility but rather their own obtuseness: they fail to notice that Jesus is present.

Then the Lord enters the scene and gives them an instruction to do something new
Then the Lord bursts in with a question: "Children, do you have nothing to eat?" This forces them to recognize that things are not going well. Having obtained the admission of their own bankruptcy, he supplies the solution: "Throw the net on the right side of the boat and you will find something". Behind this instruction there is a depth of meaning - as always in John’s Gospel - but at the basic level there is simply the indication to fish in a new way, according to the word of an Other, not depending simply on one's own initiative, as appears in the opening sentence of Peter – “I’m going fishing”. Following the instructions of this stranger, things start to work all of a sudden. The disciples go from a poor catch to bountiful results. This is what happened in the early Church when the disciples ceased to focus their efforts only on the children of Abraham and opened up to the pagan multitudes. The nets of the Church thus experienced a bountiful catch as crowds of Gentiles entered the legacy of the Messiah of Israel. All of this happened because Peter and his brothers stopped fishing in the old way and began to do something new. In the Gospel passage, the miraculous catch is followed by a shared meal, which represents the rediscovered intimacy with the Lord. It is an image of the Eucharistic liturgy where we truly encounter the Risen One.

Peter is led by the Lord through a process of healing and correction. It is only when we cease depending on our own egos that we bear fruit. It is only when we case our nets according to the instruction of the Lord that we can hope for a bountiful catch
But this intimacy with the Lord is not enough by itself. The Church must also be liberated from error. The Church is always in need of healing.  Peter is now asked three times to declare his love to the Lord because he had denied him three times. During this narrative we see the sadness of Peter. This sadness is the necessary and painful liberation from the mistake that he made, a consequence of the unacceptable attitude that led him to his betrayal. In fact, at the beginning of this Gospel passage, Peter had actually repeated his previous mistake: he had started on his own initiative - "I'm going fishing" - similar to his impetuous assertion before the Passion, "I'll give my life for you!" This is precisely the point: Peter will only give his life for Christ when he has learned not to rely on himself, but to cast the nets according to the word of his Lord, to live by letting himself be carried where he does not want to go. Previously, Peter had been enslaved by his own ego; now he has put on a new garment and is finally following Jesus. This is a fundamental lesson for all Christians: as long as our own will remains our starting point, the results will be ridiculous, like those empty nets. It is essential that our “fishing” is driven by attentiveness to His word, with a constant awareness of our own weakness and failures. Only then do we begin seriously to follow the Lord. And only then will we bear fruit.

Saturday, 27 April 2019



April 28th 2019.  Divine Mercy Sunday
GOSPEL  John 20: 19-31
Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio

Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

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GOSPEL John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord."
But he said to them,
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nail marks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
The Gospel of the LordPraise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Kieran’s summary . . . Too often the figure of Thomas is considered to be the classic model of doubt or unbelief. But this would be a superficial reading of the Gospel passage! In fact, Thomas expresses one of the highest professions of faith contained in the New Testament, “My Lord and my God”. Moreover, Thomas does not show greater unbelief than the rest of the disciples. They were all slow to believe when Mary Magdalene testified to the resurrection. What Thomas really demonstrates is something different than simple doubt or unbelief. The real reason that he does not believe at the same time as his brothers is because he was absent from the fraternal gathering when Jesus appeared. Eight days later - which is the Jewish way of sating “one week later” - he is present at the gathering and he too has an experience of the risen Lord. Our faith is not an individualistic thing! We come to have faith as a member of a community of brothers and sisters. And the goal of our faith is to enter into communion with our brothers and sisters! Thomas believes when he encounters Jesus along with the other disciples. This prepares them for the future time when they will no longer see Jesus in the flesh, but they will help others to see him by their testimonies - “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”.

Do we consider Thomas to be a classic figure of doubt and unbelief? That would be a superficial reading of the passage!
The risen Jesus appears to the disciples and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit, giving them the power to forgive sins, the true principle of new life. But Thomas is not present. A superficial reading of the passage can transform this disciple into a negative figure, as if he were the classic example of unbelief. However, his profession of faith - "My Lord and my God!" - is actually the highest profession of the whole New Testament. Moreover, Thomas’ expression of doubt earlier is by no means unusal among the disciples: his brothers were also very slow to believe Mary Magdalene whe she announced to them that the Lord had risen. In fact, when Jesus appeared to them the first time “he showed them his hands and his side. And the disciples rejoiced to see the Lord. " In a certain sense, when Thomas says: "If I don't see the mark of the nails in his hands ... and I don't put my hand in his side, I will not believe", he is saying: "If I don't have the same experience that you had, why should I believe? You yourselves did not believe before!"

What is the real problem with Thomas? His lack of faith? Or his lack of communion with his brothers?
But in what was Thomas really lacking? Why didn't he also have the experience the others had? He was called Didymus, which in Greek means “twin”. A twin is never a single; whatever he does or wherever he goes, he is a brother! And the curious thing about this passage is that this brother from birth, on the most important day of the fraternity to which he belongs, on the day of the Resurrection of their Lord, is not with the others! He is on his own. He has not been true to the fraternal gathering. What do you need to do to find the risen Christ? Eight days later, Jesus returns among the disciples and this time Thomas is there. These eight days, according to the Hebrew way of calculating the passage of time, constitute an exact week. In order for Thomas to pass from unbelief to faith, he must return to being Didymus; what he really lacked was being with his brothers. When he is with them, then he will see the Lord as they have seen him. He will get ready, like them, for the time when they will continue to believe without seeing him. When that time comes, they will make him seen to others, even though they do not see him themselves. But to arrive at this point they must remain together and be faithful to the Sunday liturgy.

The faith is not an individualstic act. We meet the Lord through fraternal communion, and the GOAL of the faith is to enter into fraternal communion.
Christian faith is not a private, individual fact. No one meets the risen Lord except through fraternal communion. Even the conversion of St Paul, which begins with a personal experience of Christ on the road to Damascus, is completed through fraternal communion with the others. If the Resurrection does not lead us to ecclesial communion, then it is not the Resurrection of the Lord but an individualistic perfectionism, or the product of our imagination. The Resurrection is fundamentally a fraternal, ecclesial experience. The original opening words of the Greek form of the Creed is: "We believe ...". The Father we invoke is not "mine" but "ours". Faith is received in the Church, not purely in individual hearts. Believing is something we do together with others. The source - and at the same time the goal of faith - is communion with our brothers and sisters.

Friday, 19 April 2019


 April 21st 2019.  Easter Sunday
GOSPEL   John 20: 1-9
Translated from a homily by Don Fabio Rosini, broadcast on Vatican Radio
Don Fabio’s reflection follows the Gospel reading . . .

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GOSPEL   John 20:1-9
On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead.
The Gospel of the LordPraise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Kieran’s summary . . . The passage from the Gospel for Sunday’s Mass doesn’t mention an apparition of Jesus. Instead we have an empty tomb and the search for a missing body. Wouldn’t it have been better if we had read of an appearance of the risen Lord? But the passage is important for us because it shows us the very moment in which the bewilderment of the disciples turns into faith in the risen Lord. We see how the comprehension of what they had not previously understood finally dawns on them. The fact is that none of us "understands" the way God chooses for us, his solution to things. God does not save us in the way that we expect him to. Christian life is based on the power of a God who resolves our questions, not with mathematical logic, but according to an Easter strategy. This is the sort of strategy that opens a way through the Red Sea and makes a teenage boy defeat the giant Goliath. The Lord does not resolve the question of dying by avoiding death, but by passing through the middle. Someone once said that God does not save us from the night, but saves us in the night. Jesus does not protect us from problems, but transforms problems into meeting places with him. Problems, difficulties and tombs become wombs that generate new life and transform us into new creatures. This is what Easter of the Lord does.

The Gospel reading doesn’t mention an apparition of the Lord but only an empty tomb. Why?
The text of the Gospel for the day Mass on Easter Sunday is an eventful, restless and frustrating story, like the story of a search that ends in failure. We might be inclined to think that it would be more rewarding to read an account of an apparition of the risen Jesus - something which also happens immediately afterwards in John's own text - but the liturgy holds up for us instead the story of how Mary Magdalene finds the entrance to the tomb open and runs to tell Simon Peter and the beloved disciple. She assumes that the body has been stolen - a further offense to the Lord.  The two apostles run to see the empty tomb. John is faster and bends down to see, but remains on the threshold, waiting until Simon Peter other arrives. In the life of the disciples of Christ, nothing is ever done alone. Everything important is done together with someone else. You can be as sharp and brilliant as you want, but if you try to do things alone you are not a Church; you are yet another individualist. Our faith has substance only in fraternal communion, otherwise it is a form of deception.

The disciples discover that the Lord’s plan of salvation is not how we expect it to be
Then Simon Peter enters, and sees some sheets laid in one place and the shroud in another. The beloved disciple enters second, for it is fitting that Peter, the first of the apostles, should precede him.  John had stood earlier at the foot of the cross, but now, finally, he believes.  It is only now that the missing intuition sinks in: "They had not yet understood the Scripture, that is, that he had to rise from the dead". It is only here that the realization of what they had not previously understood finally arrives. No one "understands" the way God chooses for us, his solution to things. This text is imbued with the surprise that has dawned upon the disciples: God does not save us in the way that we expect him to. Christian life is based on the power of God who resolves our questions and our anxieties, not with mathematical logic, but according to an Easter strategy. This is the sort of strategy that opens a way through the sea, sends a breeze in the middle of the fire, makes a teenage David win against the giant Goliath. The Lord does not resolve the question of dying by avoiding death, but by passing through the middle. Someone once said that God does not save us from the night, but saves us in the night.

Jesus does not protect us from problems, but transforms problems into meeting places with him. Problems, difficulties, tombs become wombs that generate new life and transform us into new creatures.
And that is why we proclaim this text on Easter Sunday.  It shows us the bewilderment of the disciples in the face of the unexpected, and we need to open ourselves to this. For the Lord Jesus does not protect us from problems, but transforms problems into meeting places with Him. Tombs become starting points. Christ goes to heaven by way of the tomb. And the sheets remain there, useless, like the robes that the catechumen takes off before entering the waters of Baptism: they are old things that are no longer needed. With Christ we do not simply survive; we are resurrected. The life of those who follow the Lord is not an existence that seeks to avoid problems. Rather, every tribulation, every cross, every tomb can become a womb that generates new life. From these problems we emerge as new creatures that live life according to heaven. We finally leave the old man aside, like that folded shroud left in the tomb.

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