Today our Gospel reading is from John 20:19 – 31. It’s the first Sunday after Jesus was murdered on Good Friday. The apostles have locked themselves in a room because they were afraid that the Jewish leadership would try to execute them too. Suddenly Jesus is standing in front of them and says, “Peace be with you.” Jesus shows them the wounds on his hands and his side. The disciples rejoice and are happy he is with them. Jesus then does a very special thing; he breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Jesus has just commissioned his apostles to go forward and teach to all who will listen.
It is at this point the apostles gain the strength they need to go out into the world and teach the message Jesus tried to impress upon them during his time with them. Even Thomas who didn’t believe Jesus was there is, by the next week, ready to go out and teach. I think we all know what happened after that. Slowly but surely the message of Jesus Christ spread throughout the world, and we are here because the apostles accepted the challenge Jesus placed before them.
My dear friends, each one of us is commissioned by our Baptism to tell all those who will listen to us the message Jesus gave his apostles so many years ago. That doesn’t mean we have to get on a soapbox and stand on the side of the road preaching. What it does mean is that we are to live lives that makes people wonder what we’re up to. We are commissioned to live lives that mirror the life of Jesus in kindness, gentleness, and prayer.
May God give us the courage to spread the good news just as the apostles did. May we all accept the challenge to share the Good News!
Peace and All Good! Deacon Jim