Introduction: the text of John20:19-23, situates us in the event of Jesus’ resurrection where he appears to the spiritually dead disciples who were mourning the dead of his Master. An unexpectedly Jesus appears in their midst, greets them twice with the usual greeting “Peace be with you”, to reaffirm them that it is He and He is truly risen. Open tomb of your heart and let him in because he wants to give you his peace in the moments of fear.
Give send us your Sprit
And enkindle in us the flame
Of your truth and peace, so that at
Your Son’s command we too may
Carry out and accomplish his mission on
Earth of peace, truth, justice and joy.
1. Read the text John 20:19-23 read the text slowly and listen attentively with the ‘ear of your heart’. What word, sentence or phrase stands out for you?
2. Reflect: read the text again and pay attention of what touches you; why is it meaningful for you. What thought or reflection comes to you.
3. Respond: read the text again but this time respond spontaneously to the word of God. In other words, make a dialogue with God what comes from within you. What gift does this text lead you to ask for from the Lord? [spend 2 min of silence]
4. Stay with the Word: read the text a final time and rest in the word. Allow God to speak to you in deep silence. Do not say anything just listen to God’s words. What is He saying? [spend 5 min of silence]
5. Take now the word, sentence, or phase, into your daily life/activity; allow it to become part of you. Always listen to it, reflect on it, pray over it and rest on it as time allows during the day. Then allow the Word leads you to action.
Conclude your ‘Lectio Divina’ with the ‘Our Father’…
Reflection: with the death and resurrection of Jesus we come to the end of the Gospel of John but not the end of Jesus’ mission which is now entrusted to his disciples given the power of the Holy spirit and the beautiful gifts of peace and reconciliation to spread throughout the world. Pay attention to the attitude and words of Jesus and the attitude of his disciples and maybe allow them to speak to you in whatever situation your in now.
Central Message: “The doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews… he said to them ‘Peace be with you, ‘The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and again he said ‘Peace be with you. ‘As the Father sent me, so am I sending you. ‘He breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”.
a) “The doors were closed for fear of the Jews”. The disciples were terrified by the kind of death his Mater suffered, they had to flee for refuge where they could feel secure as they were afraid to be taken by the Jews and do the same as they did to their Master. But for Jesus nothing can be closed he opens up tombs and can enter through anything that is enclosed. At this moment of pandemic many are lockdown in fear to be infected and die. There are many people too lockdown in fear that are living in war or violent situations, in life threating or suffer injustice, that perhaps these situations are not much different from the ones the Apostles lived. We are certain that God is present there; that his Son manifests himself in the midst of their fears which are cast out with his peace. It is his very presence that casts out fear, we experience it specially in the Holy Eucharist where he is truly present. Stay there with him, listen to his words, let him bring you peace to your trouble world. Experience his calmness and serenity as you remain with him.
b) “he said to them twice “peace be with you” as the Father sent me so I am sending you”. In the midst of fear Jesus appear to the disciples reassuring them with his greeting of peace, a peace that the world can’t give. All their fear ceased at the greeting of Jesus’ peace, and not only that, but he gave them it as a gift to be shared with the entire world. He then commission them and sent them as missionaries of peace and reconciliation to the whole world. Today we are very much in need of this peace. The world is experiencing violence as never before, it needs those missionaries of peace to bring reconciliation and harmony to live as brothers and sisters respecting each other.
c) “Received the holy Spirit”. Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit to fill them and equip them with his gifts to go to the whole world and reconcile all that needs to be reconciled. The first effect of the action of the Holy Spirit in us is reconciliation which is the breath of Jesus, he lived his life reconciling people to God, his Father (see Luke 15:11-32). He came to call sinners to repentance and to showed them his mercy. He look for the lost sheep of the house of Israel to bring them back to the sheepfold of the Lord. The reason why God sent his Son to the world is the same reason Jesus sent his disciples to the world: to reconcile all creatures to God in his Son Jesus. This is our mission today; we are sent to people who need reconciliation with themselves and with others. We are sent to situation that needed justice and peace so that reconciliation may shine.
Some questions for our reflexion:
1. What are those aspects of my life most in need of peace?
2. What do I need to experience God’s forgiveness and the gift of peace?
3. What do you do when you feel threaten and overwhelm by fear? Do you turn to the Holy Spirit for help?