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Easter Sunday: You are the unnamed disciple

Befitting Easter, today’s gospel narrates the journey of Magdalene, Peter and the ‘other disciple whom Jesus loved’ from empty tomb to belief in the resurrection. 
It is generally said that it is the evangelist, John. In the Gospel of John, this unnamed disciple certainly has a symbolic character and that should be understood. 
This unnamed disciple enters the scene next to Andrew. One day the two see Jesus passing by. They ask him where he lives. They follow and stay with him all night. What about Peter? He enters because the nameless disciple reaches Jesus before him (John 1:35-40). 
During the passion, Peter stops and rejects the master. The unnamed disciple has the courage to follow him into the house of the high priest and is close to Jesus during the process (John 18:15-27). 
Peter is not on Calvary. He escaped. The disciple whom Jesus loves is instead with the master. He is at the foot of the cross with his mother (John 19:25-27). 
Who is he then? Why has he no name? 
He represents the authentic disciple, the one who just meets Jesus and does not hesitate. He immediately follows him and wants to know him. He has no name because everyone is invited to insert one’s own name. 
We see this pair of disciples run to the tomb. The unnamed disciple arrives first, bends, sees the linen cloths lying there, but does not enter. Simon Peter also arrives, enters and sees the linen cloths lying flat, and the napkin that was placed on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. 
Peter stops, astonished and amazed. His thoughts are locked before the evidence of death. 
The unnamed disciple, instead, takes a step forward: he sees and begins to believe (v.8). It is the climax moment of his journey of faith in the risen Lord. 
The following annotation unites the two disciples: “Scripture clearly said that Jesus must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that” (v. 9). It seems illogical, at least as regards the disciple without name. 
But, at this point, the evangelist John is not compiling a cold chronicle of events, but is pointing to the Christians of his community the route through which one comes to faith. It starts from the signs—those documented by the Gospels (John 20:30-31). 
However, they remain mysterious and incomprehensible unless one is guided by the word of God contained in the scriptures. These are those that open the mind and the heart and give the interior light that reveals the Risen One. 
The true disciple does not need further testing; he does not need the verification that Thomas will require.
● Father Fernando Armellini
Claretian Publications
Translated by 
Father John Ladesma SDB
Abridged by Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF