Roman Pentecost Sunday 2014 JMJ
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint John:
"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.” Jn. 20:19-23
Here, on the birthday of the Church, we pause and reflect. What is Christ's call to these cowering men, who locked the door because of their fear of the punishments that might be their lot? He comes bringing peace, first of all.
When He greets them, He says "Peace be with you." Then Jesus shows them His wounds. Remember, it was for this reason He came, to garner these wounds. Now in His glorified body, Christ shows His disciples that He chose to retain these wounds, the marks of His sacrifice. "Peace be with you." When He repeats something within the Scriptures, we ought to listen closely. What He is going to tell us is important. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Christ was sent for one purpose alone: While all men are born to live, Christ was born to die. Let that sink in for a moment.
|Photo by Elizabeth Nguyen|
We are now called to die in Christ. His crucifixion was the Sacrifice of all sacrifices, and now he invites us to partake with our lives in His mission, which is the forgiveness of sins. This is what the Christian life is at its nexus.
With the bestowal of the Spirit, we are brought into union with this salvific mission. Our lives are to be transfigured through the working of the Spirit in our lives. True repentance for the forgiveness of our sins is essential in this struggle. We must break from sin! But that is only the beginning. He will only be satisfied when we are truly at peace within His heart. Our lives are restless, truly restless until we deny ourselves and follow Christ, whose path leads to the Cross and beyond.
The Father sent His Son so that we might not perish, but might have Eternal Life. So too, does Christ send us for the same purpose. Now, inspired and enlivened by the Holy Spirit, we are called to preach the Truth with the power of Christ.
God be praised!