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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, April 7, 2024, Second Sunday of Easter, (Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Acts of the Apostles 4:32-35 1 John 5:1-6 John 20:19-31

It has been over a week now since we walked with Jesus through his last days on earth. The pain and suffering, the feelings of desertion and abandonment which were so real then have receded in our memory as rejoicing and shouts of “Alleluia!” have taken their place. But today's gospel takes us back a bit, back to "the evening of the first day of the week.” To the disciples gathered behind locked doors. And to their first encounter with Jesus since those awful days, those days when their own cowardice caused them to save themselves and run away. “Awkward” doesn't begin to describe what they must have been feeling!

I suggest that when Jesus appears in their midst he brings them three gifts. First, of course, he brings them peace. Twice he says "Peace be with you.” Hearing those words of blessing must have felt like forgiveness for their colossal failure!

The second gift he gives them is his scars. No longer open wounds, the marks in his hands and feet and side give testimony to what was real, painfully real, but now healed. There is no cover-up, no pretense. No doubt that it happened just as they remember it. And they will all carry their own scars, less visible but still real, when they remember. For we are all shaped by what we experience, the good and the bad. And sometimes we learn more from our failures.

And then, as if to say, "That was then; this is now. Where do we go from here?,” he gives them their mission: ”As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

The reign of God has broken into the world. Sin and death have been overcome. Now it is up to these disciples…and us… to carry on the work he began.

Like those disciples we will not do the work perfectly. Sometimes we may run out of steam. And we will make mistakes. But like them we receive the same gifts: We will be forgiven and given peace. We will be allowed to make those mistakes and grow from them. And we will be given our share of the mission to help build the kingdom of God on earth.


by: Pat Schnee

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