April 3, 2016 - 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Why would Jesus say, “Peace be with you.”? It seems like an odd greeting, doesn’t it. “Peace be with you.”
Remember where the disciples are? They have locked themselves in a room and are hiding because they are afraid the Jewish authorities will come and arrest them just like Jesus.
They are afraid. And Jesus comes bringing peace. But not just peace. Jesus comes bringing the gifts of the Holy Spirit which he breathes on them. He also brings the power to forgive sins.
This is echoed in the reading from the Book of Revelation. Remember the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation are written by the same person, the Beloved Apostle John. In the Book of Revelation, John is told to write what he sees.
In his vision he sees one like the son of man wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash, who touches him and says, “Do not be afraid.”
We are told that the one who touches him is the one who lives, the Risen Jesus, the first and the last.
The one who lives does not want us to be afraid. Jesus, the Risen One, does not want us to live in fear.
What are we afraid of? What paralyzes us in fear? What stops us in our tracks? Getting sick and dying. Being alone. Being cheated on, laughed at or made fun of.
We are afraid of not being good enough, of losing our jobs. Terrorism. Crime. Natural disasters.
Sometimes we are also afraid that Jesus will not forgive us for our sins. But on this Divine Mercy Sunday we are reminded never to tire of asking for God’s mercy because it is always available. We are also reminded that no sin is too great that it can’t be forgiven.
All of these things that make us afraid are overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the same Spirit we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus desire healing in our lives. The Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus desire peace in our lives.
But most importantly the Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus desire faith. Believe in me and you will have eternal life. Believe in me and I will raise you on the Last Day to be with me forever.
The Apostle John tell us in today’s gospel that he writes with a single purpose, “So that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that, through believing, you may have life in his name.”
Remember that when the disciples were huddled in fear, Jesus came to them bringing peace. Jesus comes to us today and brings that same peace.
When we choose to believe, when we choose to come here week after week, we are comforted. We are nourished. We are cared for. We are strengthened. We are loved. We are saved, so that we no longer have to live in fear.