Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gospel Text for Sunday, May 1, 2011 (abbreviated)

John 20:19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

1 comment:

  1. Jesus is present to the disciples in an entirely new way. He is no longer constrained by the things of the world – eg.locked doors. And, not only is Jesus unconstrained by the physical things of the world, he is unconstrained by the reason of the world. Out of his suffering and death Jesus brings a message of peace found in forgiveness. I am struck by the juxtaposition of Jesus’ message, “Peace be with you,” and the display of his wounds. Which begs the question, how are we to experience peace when we are misunderstood, mistreated, tortured even to death? How do we find peace in the midst of our woundedness? And Jesus provided the way. Jesus gave the disciples and gives us the Holy Spirit.

    By our own will and power we are not able to feel and be peace in the face of the tragedies and woundedness of our lives and the lives of others. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to forgive the sins of any and this is what sets us free. Here’s the thing – when we forgive another their sin we are set free. When we retain their sin, we remain enslaved to their sin. It is in freedom – spiritual freedom – that we receive and become the Peace of our Lord.

    When I look at the image of the twin towers in NYC and remember the many times I gazed upon their the towering symbol of power and success, my mind now leaps to two other iconic images; the second plane crashing into the tower on September 11th and the empty space at ground zero. An enormous wound at the heart of our nation, a sign of misunderstanding, mistreatment even torture between us and other peoples. What if we like Jesus arose from our most grievous wounds and chose not to retain the sins of others? What if we arose from our woundedness with a message of forgiveness? Might we then like Jesus then be unconstrained by the things of the world? Might we then be free to be peace and bring peace to the world?