Tag Archives: John 20.22-23

Gospel Reflection for April 3, 2016, 2nd Sunday of Easter

31 Mar

Sunday Readings: Acts 5.12-16; Revelation 1.9-11, 12-13, 17-19; John 20.19-31

Jesus breathed on his disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

(John 20.22-23)

Bible scholar Sandra Schneiders observes that the Greek word translated as retained above or sometimes bound more commonly means to hold fast, to embrace. She argues that Jesus is charging the community to hold fast the people they forgive. As a reconciling community, they are to embrace and support those they forgive, not to hold them bound to their sins.

“Jesus is the human face of God’s mercy,” Pope Francis writes in proclaiming the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is our call in continuing Jesus’ mission — to be the human face of forgiveness and mercy among those in our lives.

Who holds you fast? How do you use your power to make peace?

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Gospel Reflection for April 27, 2014, Second Sunday of Easter

27 Apr

Jesus’ followers were hiding from the Jews when Jesus appeared to them.

Jesus 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 20.22-23


Easter is about transformation and action.  Jesus hands over to the community the work that God sent him to do.  They go forth to bring God’s love, forgiveness, and healing to the world and their divided community.  Jesus’ presence frees his fearful community for faith, joy, and the work of the Spirit—to forgive and to love, to loose and to bind.

What new life and mission is the Spirit breathing into you?

Gospel Reflection for May 19, 2013, Pentecost

13 May

Jesus said, “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.

John 20.22-23

The risen Christ sends us out into the world, empowers us with the Holy Spirit, and calls us to use our power according to his way and not the world’s.  We are to listen and let go of control when we are powerful.  We are to speak and act when we are powerless.  Equally important is our challenge to intervene against injustice: we are to find ways for the Holy Spirit to empower those who are oppressed and powerless to speak the truth and to challenge those who are powerful to be silent and listen.

How can you move the people in your work, your family, or your ministry toward Pentecost?

 If you enjoy this Gospel Reflection,
please visit the Sunday By Sunday page
to order a subscription or request a free sample.
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