A man went outside to buy food for his wife and kids. On the way home, three men shot him, took his wallet, and left him for dead. In the courtroom where the culprits were about to be tried, the mother of the murdered man embraced the youngest of the accused and proceeded to hug his mother too. Then she said: “I do not hate you. It’s not our way. Showing mercy…that’s our way.”

Imagine what happened at the Resurrection. As Jesus rose, he pushed open the stone blockade at the entrance of the tomb. Setting out from there, Jesus left behind the coldness, the darkness, and the dryness of death to welcome the new light and life he is now to share with his waiting disciples. But on the contrary, the disciples locked themselves in an isolated place, huddled in fear of the Jews, as the Gospel says (Jn 20:19). To think that they too were Jews! Were the disciples afraid of themselves?

Jesus’ first act of mercy to his disciples was to unlock the doors of their fears and to lead them out of their isolation, to set them free! Jesus wants his disciples to live in the freedom he now enjoys.

Today people struggle for freedom. Young people yearn for freedom to be themselves, to choose their companions, and to do what they intend to do. Consumers seek for the freedom to accumulate what they desire. Advocacy groups fight for the freedom to accomplish their goals. Almost all of us bask in the freedom of the internet world, where we can travel, study, recreate, pray, research and explore whatever we want.

The freedom Jesus gives however, is a different freedom. It is the freedom to be like him, to do as he did, to give our lives for our brothers and sisters as he offered his. It is not easy though. Like the disciples do we not feel safe and secure inside a room filled with like minded people? We are afraid to go out of ourselves, or out of our group and set about to proclaim our faith, discuss our hope and share our love.

The mercy of Jesus is expressed in his act of setting people free. Receiving this mercy, this freedom, let us pray for the grace to set people free by our words and acts of kindness, forgiveness, understanding and mercy!