Sunday, May 31
John 20: 19-23
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Last week, we celebrated Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. This week, Jesus forms His Church (the Pentecost — the birth of His Church) and empowers the Apostles to lead it. From his heavenly home, Jesus originates the now popular Working From Home (WFH) method in getting things done. He has done this ever since through His Church. Today, being breathed on by another person would be inappropriate and even considered unhealthy. Yet this is precisely what Jesus does and by doing so, He breathes the Holy Spirit on us. But instead of spreading a deadly illness, He spreads life, peace, and hope. He breathes on us still in this time of uncertainty. Peace is much more than simply the absence of war. It is the strong desire and ability to cope and maintain balance during a time when the world around us seems to be falling apart.
I would mention just a word about the 1st and 2nd readings for this week’s Feast Day. In the 1st reading today (Acts Chapter 2) we have the apostles speaking Aramaic, their native language, but being heard and understood by Jews from around the world. It brings to full circle the first 11 chapters of Genesis in which the world was introduced to sin ending in Chapter 11 with the tower of Babel. The last sin introduced into the world was our inability to communicate with each other. By changing the language of those working on the tower, it divided and discouraged working together. We have lived that divide ever since. This passage in Acts expands the gift of language to the Apostles — through their teachings and living the life of Jesus Christ imprinted on them.
In our 2nd reading today (1 Corinthians Chapter 12), Paul describes the Church as the Body of Christ of which we are all a part. Each of us brings unique and essential skills to be part of that body. Our challenge is to discover what part of the body we provide — taking our skills and prayer to a new discovery. That discovery gives us meaning in our own life. Once we acknowledge and embrace our role, we serve the Body of Christ in the way we are gifted and in harmony with ourselves.
This time of isolation and separation is a time for reflection and resolve. With the discovery of who we are in relationship to the Body of Christ’s Church, we will be gifted with the language to preach it to others. We too can reverse the failure of Babel and rebuild the world in a common language using the breath of Jesus Christ and His Church to restore all back into harmony.
-Deacon Don Poirier