söndag 30 mars 2008

...for fear of the Jews

"The door was closed... for fear of the Jews". Nevertheless, Jesus, the Risen Christ, came and stood among them. The phrase, in this week's Gospel (John 20:19) is there to make the express point that the post-resurrection Jesus does not have a normal physical body but one that can pass through closed doors. On the other hand, the post-resurrection accounts tell of Jesus having a wounded body, with pierced hand, feet and sides, and one that eat normal food. Thus, the appearances of Jesus between the Resurrection and the Ascension are paradoxical.

But what is this bit about the Jews? It makes me uneasy. All the disciples inside the room were Jews. So which Jews is St John referring to, that the disciples were afraid of? Clearly, it is the religious authorities. Unfortunately, unless the matter is thought about, the opprobrium rubs off onto all Jews, which is understandable but absurd, untheological and ultimately leads to hatred.

Christian preachers need to make the point when this passage is read. But the most important part of the passage is this:

"Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. "

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Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton for 23 years ...