from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale.”
Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for
their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who
saw him after he had risen.”
Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples
are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were
seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wonder-
Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew
relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some
Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was pro-
duced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary
their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace,
from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.
The condition of Christ’s risen humanity
By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus
establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this
way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that
the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that
had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his
Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses
the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and
time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s
humanity can no longer be confined to earth and belongs hence-
forth only to the Father’s divine realm.
For this reason too the
risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes:
in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples,
precisely to awaken their faith.
Christ’s Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was
the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before
Easter: Jairus’ daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These
actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised
returned by Jesus’ power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular
moment they would die again. Christ’s Resurrection is essentially
different. In his risen body he passes fromthe state of death to another
life beyond time and space. At Jesus’ Resurrection his body is filled
24:30, 39-40, 41-43;
20:20, 27; 21:9, 13-15.
20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.
20:14-16; 21:4, 7.