O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.
1st John 3:1-7
Today’s lesson sounds like a repeat of last week’s account of Jesus’ appearance to his disciples following his resurrection. We hear the story of Thomas who needed to see for himself before he could believe that Jesus had risen from the grave.
But we also read in Luke’s letter concerning the “acts” of the apostles, how Peter and John had been brought before the religious leaders who questioned them concerning by whose power they had been preaching. We have the account of these disciples healing a cripple beggar only days before and they were being asked to tell, “by whose authority are you doing these things?”
Jesus’ disciples were beginning to do the things that Jesus had done while he was with them. He had now returned to the Father after having commanded his followers to continue the ministry that he had begun.
These were the same men who Jesus had found huddled together in that upper room, in fear, on that Easter morning. These were the same men who had fled when Jesus had been arrested in the garden. There was Peter who had denied Jesus three times after having promised to stand by his master no matter what.
We can only imagine all the things that had gone through the minds of these men. Fear had gripped each man and caused them to flee and yet for some reason they had come back to that upper room. Slowly, they came out of hiding and came back. I suspect that they were ashamed and embarrassed and wanted God’s forgiveness. But, for whatever reason, they came back.
When Jesus appeared in their midst, he offered those comforting words that he used so often, “peace be with you.” The same Jesus who had forgiven the woman with the five husbands….the pint-size thief who was passing himself off as a tax collector….the street walker…the demonic, and placed fear in the religious leaders …that same Jesus said, “peace be with you” all is forgiven.
Jesus’ disciples needed to know that there was forgiveness. That was necessary for there to be reconciliation. Jesus forgave his followers and then challenged them to go out and do greater things than he had done.
Jesus shows us today that we can live in a world of second chances. It’s not everyday that we might find someone who will give us a second chance…much less someone who will give us a second chance “every day.”
Today’s lesson should serve as an encouragement to each of us who struggle daily with our various fears and concerns. We can know without a doubt that we serve a God who is a forgiving God and a God who wants the best for his children.
And we know that because we know that God is good…all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I belie that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.