Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Second Sunday of Easter

 

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 John 20: 19-31

“Peace be with you”

The risen Jesus greeted his disciples with the common Jewish salutation “Peace be with you”. The Jews considered peace a gift that comes from God, to establish harmony and friendship not only between us and our neighbours, but also between us and God. Jesus grants his peace to his disciples who only three days ago had scattered and deserted him, even denied knowing him, in his hour of need. Now they rejoice at seeing their beloved master again, and receiving his personal gift of peace, his assurance of reconciliation.

Then, a second time Jesus said “Peace be with you”, this time not as gift but as mission: "as the Father sent me, so am I sending you" to be ambassadors of my peace in the world. As you have been forgiven, be forgiving to others and draw them together in my peace. The disciples themselves need to be strengthened for such a great task and so Jesus breathes his Spirit into them to sanctify them, so that they in turn can sanctify others. The Church is at once a reconciled and reconciling community. Reconciliation is both a grace and a responsibility.

During his public ministry this same Jesus had given a repeated lesson in forgiveness and reconciliation by eating at table with publicans and sinners. In the eyes of the Jews of his time this was a really scandalous thing to do. But for Jesus it was like a parable in action, telling us that the kingdom of God is a reconciling one and is extended to all. Today the same Jesus, died and risen, invites us to his table to share the cup of his blood which “is shed so that sins may be forgiven”. We share the one bread and the one cup because we are the community reconciled by his sacrifice, and in order to become ever more truly the reconciling community he has called us to be.