Second Sunday of Easter. Divine Mercy Sunday John 20: 19-31
In this Gospel passage we are given the account of Jesus appearing twice to his disciples. Both times he makes an appearance to them in a room with the doors locked. His disciples were afraid, ‘for fear of the Jews’. Each time Jesus showed them the wounds on his hands and side to help them recognise who he was. Jesus greeted them saying, ‘Peace be with you’. What he wanted for them was peace. In the first appearance in this passage for Sunday we read that it is evening, ‘On the evening of that first day of the week’ Jesus came and stood among them. The disciples were together. Perhaps they were going over all the events of the recent few days, what had happened and what would be next.
During a recent visit to a third class, I listened to children tell me of what they had learnt from the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and what was to happen with his dying on the cross and then rising from the dead. A little girl proceeded by asking, ‘Why did it take so long for Jesus to come to us?’
In sitting in the evening of that day I thought of the question the child asked. Then I thought – how often God reveals himself to us and we fail to see or respond. Jesus’ appearances after the Resurrection still has us doubting at times, like Thomas in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. The gift of that child’s thinking has provoked me to sit in the stillness of the evenings and recall how God reveals his peace to each of us daily and how I am asked to respond with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. ‘Peace be with you.’ To allow Christ’s peace we need to unlock our hearts to receive it and we need to be able to forgive. To make that choice to do so, to free our spirit so as to live in the peace that Jesus gifts us with. Like the little girl in third class I can ask myself, ‘Why does it take me so long to recognise Jesus?’ And as I sit in the evening of the day I can admit it is often because of fear I feel due to not forgiving and therefore locking myself in hurts of the past.
There continues to be so much that needs healing through the peace as offered to us by Jesus.
The image of the disciples being together in a space brings to mind the awful tragedies of the recent weeks, the killings in Churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, the shootings in the Mosque in New Zealand, spaces where people gathered peacefully – and how quickly the mood changed to fear as a result of the violence that showered on them. May we reflect on how God reveals himself to us daily so that we help others to see and for peace in our world we continue to pray
‘Peace be with you’.
Sr Edel Murphy OP