“Se il chicco di grano caduto in terra non muore…” (Gv 11-12), RBSem 15

Jacek Oniszczuk, “Se il chicco di grano caduto in terra non muore…” (Gv 11-12), RBSem 15, Peeters, Leuven 2018 (241 p.)

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The title of this study, dedicated to the two central chapters of the Fourth Gospel, contains a fragment of the quotation from Jn 12:24: “‘If the grain of wheat that has fallen into the earth does not die…’ (Jn 11-12)”. The quotation is well known and the reader, familiar with the Gospels, certainly knows how to complete it: “Amen, amen, I say to you, if the grain of wheat falls into the earth and does not die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24). The Johannine text is followed by another similar saying: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (Jn 12:25).
The two maxims […] easily offer precious nourishment for meditation not only on the mystery of Jesus’ saving death, but also on the mystery of all human life and death (p. 7).
The two chapters 11-12 […] acquire considerable importance in the overall composition of the gospel. In fact, it seems reasonable to assume that the two chapters constitute the central section of John’s gospel (p. 15).

Humanly speaking, it seems entirely reasonable to think that the pain caused by the death of her brother [Lazarus] weighed so heavily on Martha that she fixed her eyes on the tomb. In fact, having faith in God does not mean not seeing and not feeling the consequences of death. […] Jesus’ attitude, in his “lifting up his eyes”, becomes a model for those who are still immersed in suffering. He shows that it is necessary to try to “lift up the stone” of one’s own pain (p. 80).