JN 20: 19-23




What an unexpected surprise came to the apostles! Jesus, who they have given up for dead, now appears before them. They were terrified for there might be a backlash. Before he died, they could not accompany him for an hour of prayer at the Garden. They fled at the time his enemies arrested and tried him. At the foot of the cross, none of them was present, save John with the Blessed Mother. In fear and shame, they abandoned him.


Now that he is here, what will he say? Surely, it is understandable if his first words would be: Where were you when I was suffering? Why did you leave me alone and undefended? Has no one got the courage to stand, to speak up, to offer his life for me? What kind of followers are you?


But Jesus stands in their minds, repeating only one message – Peace! The Man of Sorrows who was bruised and bloodied all over now calmly says, peace. The Crucified One who yelled: “Father, why have you abandoned me?” now pronounces peace. The Master they avoided at the hour of his great shame courageously proclaims peace. Jesus’ words were not blame and recrimination but forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness… peace, peace, peace!


Jesus overflows with peace because he is so united with the Holy Spirit, his faithful companion through the Cross and the tomb. Now risen, he possesses the Spirit in fullness. That is why he can share the forgiveness and peace the Spirit brings. He promised that the Spirit will come to teach, remind, and convert hearts… now he tells his disciples that the Spirit too, will be their guarantor of peace.


Due to the pandemic, my friend’s heart surgery was postponed several times. When the Covid infection was less likely, the doctor himself hesitated to perform the procedure. But my friend was convinced that it was God’s will to proceed. In her mind, there was no doubt. In her heart, there was peace. In her spirit, there was only abandonment to God. She was sure that the Holy Spirit was guiding her and her doctor to do the right thing. Peace filled her heart.


Jesus offers us today the gift of peace, if we are first willing to receive the Greatest Gift of the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit. Is your heart open to receive him? God has revealed himself as Father to Israel, as Son in the person of Jesus. Now God reveals himself in the Holy Spirit who is the best friend of every believing heart, of hearts that yearn for peace. Come, Holy Spirit!