The issue with well-known Gospels (at least to myself personally), is that I end up sitting on the pew, listening to it and thinking to myself, “Oh, I’ve heard this one. Disciples were afraid, Thomas didn’t believe until he saw Jesus in the flesh yada yada yada…”. Then you switch off and daydream about dinner…
So the beauty of Lectio – and most importantly to fully participate in it – is that it forces you to open your eyes to it again. At the same time, it is also incredibly refreshing to hear the reflection from other folks =D
In this Gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples (without Thomas) and says “Peace be with you!”. And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Recently I’ve been battling with a lot of emotions dealing with self-righteousness and thoughts about being kind vs being right. Somehow, it magnifies at the workplace where there is a strong draw towards being seen as capable and efficient or aka a money-making robot. However, I also believe that it is a practice of constant discernment such that it becomes a natural habit (a virtue of prudence). For example, in Matthew 21:12,
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
This particular text could confuse people because we were brought up to believe that all negative emotions such as anger are…well negative. However, we can see that anger could also be good when it is used against injustice! For example, if we were to read on the news about children abuse and not get angry, surely there must be something wrong with us.
But let’s head back to the room where the fearful disciples were hiding. Imagine instead, that you sacrificed your life and the very people who followed you and watched your death continued to be fearful instead of spreading the good news which your very sacrifice was for. How would you feel? Is this some form of injustice? Yes, I would think it certainly is. But the question is, is true justice something you practice on yourself or to help achieve justice for others who deserve it?
Instead, Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you”. Jesus’ love didn’t end there as well, He continued to breathe on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Dear Jesus, we pray that You open our hearts and minds to be more like You. Let us learn to be kind like You and to always wish peace onto our brothers and sisters. Let us also learn to entrust others as well as ourselves for good works despite our unworthiness. Teach us to always have hope. Amen!