I invite you to join me in contemplating part of the story of Jesus. It is on the day after the weekend that was. The apostles had seen their friend Jesus arrested, humiliated, tortured, executed and buried. Not only that but the women had reported that his body was missing from the tomb. In the midst of this chaos, the apostles retreated to a room upstairs in a house they knew and they locked the doors for fear of the authorities. Then… Jesus came and stood among them. Let’s look at three movements in the story of what happens next and see what it says to us.
The first thing he said to them was, ‘Peace be with you.’
Jesus came to the apostles who were afraid. That was their mess: fear. And it was right into that mess that Jesus came. And what did he bring to the mess? He brought the consolation of his peace. What is your mess right now? Is it fear? Or is it something else? Perhaps it is worry or frustration or illness. Maybe it is relationship breakdown or fatigue or cynicism. Whatever it is, I invite you to know that Jesus, right now, joins you in that mess and says to you, ‘Peace be with you.’
He then said, ‘As my Father sent me, so I am sending you.’
Once the apostles sensed the peace of God, Jesus let them know that their lives had purpose. He told them that they had a mission. In one of the most beautiful things he wrote, Pope Benedict XVI said that ‘Each one of us is a product of a thought of God. Each one is willed. Each one is loved. Each one is necessary.’ Each of us is necessary. We are all sent on a mission by God. It may be a mission to be a loving parent, grandparent or uncle or aunt or friend. It might be a mission to spread the Good News. It might be a mission to care for the needy. What is your mission?
He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
Breathing on someone is an intimate act. It requires a closeness to be effective. If you try to breathe in someone from across a room they won’t feel it! God is close to us; close enough to breathe on us. Spend a moment and know that you are not alone… Ever. God is with you. And God is close by. Take some deep, slow breaths and feel the air go in and out. As it does, be filled with the Holy Spirit. Feel it console you. Feel it energise you. Feel it redeem you.
John 20: 19-22
In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, “Peace be with you,” and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, “Peace be with you. “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.” After saying this he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit.
(The beautiful art pieces in this blog are by Becca Billingslea. Go check her out and buy some of her inspired art)