The Gospel Today
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.”
Reflection (Sem. Enrico Terrel):
What are the disciples so fearful about? The Gospel narrative mentions that they are so afraid of the Jews. The Jews have just put Jesus Christ to death. They hate Christ because He did not only “violate” the law on Sabbath by healing the sick people but He also proclaim Himself as the Son of God by calling God as His Father. In the perspective of the Jews, Jesus is a blasphemer, a false prophet, a man possessed by evil spirits. Given the fact that they have already eliminated Christ, it is possible to think that they could also shift their sights and efforts on the disciples because they were closely associated with Jesus. They have the capacity to preach the Christ’s teachings to the people. Eliminating those who are close to Christ is one effective way of removing away whatever influence and mindset that Jesus passed on to those He has encountered. However, Jesus would not let His disciples to remain in a state of fear. By appearing before them, He breathes on them the Holy Spirit thus giving them peace and joy.
Prior to my seminary formation, I was often afflicted and hindered by my worries and anxieties over so many things. Unlike the disciples who fear the Jews, I was often affected by my worries that were actually coming within myself. I was guilty for having irrational ideas such as I cannot do this because I do not know it or I am not an expert in such field. Nevertheless, God was so good that He allowed me to experience seminary formation. I was given opportunities and responsibilities that were beyond the scope of my previous training and background. At first, I was afraid to commit myself due to fears of failure and the possibility of disappointing the people who put me in such position. I eventually realized that my worries were useless and the only thing that I should focus on is the truth that God is with me. He would not put me in a challenging situation that is way beyond my capacity. Seeking the assistance of the Holy Spirit gave me courage and strength to go on amidst the challenges in formation. With faith in the Lord and patient endurance, I found myself that I have passed through it.
Looking back, I could only say that there are countless reasons that things would go wrong but there is only one reason why everything would be alright. That reason is God whose very presence is more than enough to take away all my fears. His presence brings me peace and joy.