May 24, 2015: Pentecost Sunday
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.” (John 20:19-23)
What do you think about when you hear of locked doors? … the need to keep things safe? … fear of harm? Supposedly, for Jesus’ disciples, it was for fear of the Jews. Was it also fear of facing their guilt after abandoning Jesus? It seems only John remained at the foot of the cross.
After His resurrection, Jesus passing through those locked doors, took away their fears when He said “Peace be with you.” In fact, He said it twice to convince them that He understood their frailty and forgave them. In that moment, when they realized their sins were truly forgiven, Jesus bestowed on them the power to forgive the sins of others. In that moment, the Sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted by Christ.
Have you ever known the fear of facing someone whom you hurt or let down? Imagine how the disciples felt when Jesus gave offered them forgiveness and peace instead of anger. Remember, Jesus offers you that same forgiveness and peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.