Saturday, April 22, 2017

John 20.19-31        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.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Reflection       Today I find myself in the locked and stuffy upstairs room with the disciples. Hiding, afraid, reviewing the countless times I have turned away from Jesus, how I leap to judge others and fail to love and care for my neighbor because I am more concerned with procuring my own safety, security, esteem, power and control. My faith is fickle. I am weak, a coward and a hypocrite.

How about you…. Are you in the upper room too? When have you turned away from Jesus? Hidden your eyes? Closed your ears? Crossed your fingers?....said yes… but? 

Yet, even as we hide, stew and wait for the axe to fall, something extraordinary happens. In the depths of our darkest moment Jesus comes and whispers to our heart, “Peace be with you.”

Peace be with us? How can we be peaceful? The world outside hates us, persecutes us?   It is exploding in violence and every dis-ease. Fear is mongered at every corner. And inside we feel awful, despicable. No matter how many times we say we want to follow Jesus, we turn away and follow our own self interest.

Still, Jesus is relentless and says to us again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathes the Holy Spirit into us. We are not condemned, rebuked or turned away. In spite of our guilt and fear, in spite of being immersed in a world erupting in violence, vitriol and hatefulness, Jesus breathes on us and we are made one with Jesus and the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We are made to participate in the  Divine life of the Trinity, which is why Jesus says, “as the Father has sent me, so I send you.” We unapologetically  participate in the divine life of the Trinity to continue Jesus’ mission bringing peace to all the earth, being peace in all situations. Jesus says to us again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” full of peace in the power of the Holy Spirit. Go now into the world, live without fear and be the peace you seek.   

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