Scripture Readings Acts 1.42-47, 1 Peter 1.3-9; John 20.19-31
On the evening of the first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them. “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” – John 20.19-23
In Sunday’s gospel the risen Jesus disturbs and reinvigorates a community of disciples locked in fear and teetering between old and new, failure and future. Jesus wishes peace to these fearful disciples who deserted and denied him in his suffering. He breathes Spirit into them and sends them to carry on his mission. He forgives them and authorizes them to become a reconciling community. What Jesus does for his disciples he entrusts them and us to do for others.
Who among us in the midst of sheltering at home and wearing masks to get groceries doesn’t feel locked in fear, perhaps fear of getting COVID-19 or anxiety about how our nation and world will rebound from the screeching halt of commerce. The risen Jesus whom these first men and women disciples meet breathes his Spirit into them and sends them to continue his mission. Get over yourselves and put your faith and love into action.
The future will undoubtedly bring the greatest hardships and losses to the least among us. Congress will pass funding to help. Charities will continue their work. We can join the work and each of us can reach out with funds and friendship to those who need resurrection in their individual lives and families.
May our faith and love in action transform us into people others see and believe in Jesus.
What new life and mission is the Spirit breathing into you?