Pentecost Sunday: John 20:19-23
Jesus passed through the locked doors of the house in which the disciples were. His arrival among them was completely unexpected. Did they dread his reproaches, all but the beloved disciple, having abandoned him in his terrible hour of need?
Before they could express any remorse, he simply said to them, ‘Peace be with you’. It is an expression of unconditional love. We are called on to show the same unmerited forgiveness in our own lives. Only when we believe ourselves to be forgiven, can we do the same to others. Is there someone I need to forgive this very day?
Today we celebrate Pentecost when the Spirit was given to the disciples. It is the birthday of the Church, the day when the timid and uncertain apostles were transformed into bold preachers of Jesus and his resurrection. The same Spirit is still as active in the Church today, transforming it – and us – into better missionaries.
Let us pray in a special way for the Church, spread throughout the world under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us ask for the grace to grow in love for the Church, which is the body of Christ himself, and of which I am a living part. It is through her that we receive the Word, the Eucharist, forgiveness of sins and so much more.
Jesus came to the disciples at the time of their great fear. He came to them although the doors were locked. He comes to me too, wherever I am locked in by fear, and he gives me his peace. And Jesus breathes upon me and gives me the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of peace and truth and joy. I can turn to this Spirit for help whenever fear threatens to overwhelm me in my life. Ask yourself: Is faith a source of peace for me? Have I ever found myself in that room with the disciples? and then what happened?
The disciples recognize Jesus, but he is not the same Jesus they had known; and His first words to them are ‘Peace be with you’. This peace he offers is ultimately a deep and heartfelt awareness of Emmanuel, ‘God with us’.
Thomas the doubter is the patron saint of so many of us. When it comes to the supernatural and spiritual, we need to be sceptical. Jesus respected Thomas’s doubts, and guided his fingers into the wounds. Lord, you call me blessed because I believe without the evidence of my senses. You matter more to me than what I can see, hear, touch or smell; but there are times when I falter. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.