Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. John 20, 19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples* were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 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.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
From Fear to Fire
Peace to all my brothers and sisters listening in today
1) Fear: How many of us are afraid to talk about God publicly? How many of us are like the apostles, hiding their faith, worried about what other people might think afraid of being judged or ridiculed, being called irrational or religious fanatics or worse?
2) Fragility: The good news we hear today is how the Holy Spirit changed a band of fearful fishermen into fearless preachers of Jesus Christ. How? In showing his hands and sides to his Apostles, Jesus revealed his brokenness in order to teach us how to unite ourselves to God and to others. By showing us His open wounds and pouring out His Holy Spirit, Jesus teaches us not to hide our fragility and woundedness, but instead to use our hurts, our powerlessness, our limitations, and our weakness as a means of union with God and others. Pope Francis even defines holiness as an encounter between our weakness and the power of God’s grace. We grow in Love and intimacy with God and others, by sharing our fragility, opening ourselves up and becoming vulnerable. Listen to what CS Lewis says happens if we don’t.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it in tact you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless -it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
3) Fire: Jesus came to ignite and set the whole world on fire, and He sent the Holy Spirit to help fan this flame into a huge eternal bonfire. He entrusted us, His Church to continue this mission of spreading His healing love to reconcile the world and to make it one. How do we do that? Perhaps Saint Catherine of Sienna said it best. “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” This doesn’t mean always trying to do great or lofty things but rather simply doing little things with great love. It means taking the risk to opening your hearts to others, and letting them in.
Have a blessed and holy day
In the name of the Father Son Holy Spirit. Amen