We are now in the Easter season and the reality of the Resurrection will dominate the Scriptures over the next few weeks. Today’s Gospel, from the 20th chapter of John, is really one of the most dramatic scenes in the entire New Testament, in my opinion, coming only behind the actual descriptions of the death and resurrection of our Divine Lord.
Try to visualize it. The apostles are confused and frightened. Their leader has been executed. They retreat to the room where they had celebrated the Passover. A group of confused leaders if ever there was one. Then, suddenly, Jesus came and stood before them! The text says that at the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced but I think that they should even have been more frightened! They had now walked with Jesus of Nazareth for almost three years, had seen him manifest awesome power and teach a wonderful doctrine of God’s love for the human family and of our need to love each other. But without exception, they all failed him. What is he going to say? How angry will he be?
These words are addressed to these frightened apostles but they are also addressed to you and me after we have stumbled and fallen. PEACE BE WITH YOU. When I am talking about this in homilies, I often translate it into what I think would be modern English. “Take it easy, take it easy.” They failed and ran away when their support was needed but he has forgiven them.
This is a beautiful scene and we need to take it to heart. He will go on to talk about the apostles forgiving sins of others in his name but we can talk about that later this week. So many times I end these little chapters with “onward through the fog” but today the fog is lifted. The brightness of the Resurrection points the direction for all of us to enter into eternal life with God.
Peace be with you.