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168

Part One

from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale.”

505

When

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.”

506

644

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-

ing.”

507

Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew

relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some

doubted.”

508

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

645

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

passion.

509

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.

510

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.

511

646

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

505

Lk

24:11; cf.

Mk

16:11, 13.

506

Mk

16:14.

507

Lk

24:38-41.

508 Cf.

Jn

20:24-27;

Mt

28:17.

509 Cf.

Lk

24:30, 39-40, 41-43;

Jn

20:20, 27; 21:9, 13-15.

510 Cf.

Mt

28:9, 16-17;

Lk

24:15, 36;

Jn

20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.

511 Cf.

Mk

16:12;

Jn

20:14-16; 21:4, 7.

999

934

549