What if Peace?
Each of the readings from the Second Sunday of Easter is so rich, so powerful, and so very encouraging. However, the reading which I have been walking with daily for the past two weeks is the gospel reading. It is this reading that I have chosen to share with my hospice patients and their families.
I personally can find myself very easily hanging out with the disciples behind the locked doors for “fear of…little things like gas prices or big things like the War in Iraq. I find myself locked behind doors of self doubt and lack of trust toward others who make decisions that directly impact my life. When I am with my patients and their families/significant others they are often in fear of losing friends and family as they get closer to dying…or fear of returning to work after the death of their loved one -not knowing if they will weep when they are asked, “How are you?”
Our friends, the disciples of Jesus, had their world turned upside down and as mentioned in an earlier entry, they had lost their dream of an earthly king and kingdom. If the Jews and the Romans would dare kill Jesus, who among them would be next to be killed? I think each of us can say that about something in our lives, “If my sister can get cancer, then what about me?” If my dad, my brother-in-law, my partner can get laid off without any warning, then what about me?” We all have our own “what ifs”.
So it is easy for me to slip into that room of fear being held back only by a simple lock. It is in that moment that Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you Angie, you Peter, you Sally, you Danielle…But for most of us that is not enough to hear, because after all what if I am making up this sense of inner peace and I should be really worried? What if I let down my guard and I end up paying a price?” The disciples were no different than us, except we have the privilege of 2000 years of hind sight.
So Jesus sensing their fear offers further proof that He is really the Risen One by showing his hands and sides. This does it for those present and they begin rejoicing. So now that they are present in a new way he says 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.
This is not where the reading ends…but what if we allow ourselves to be open to this being the beginning of our celebration of the Easter season? To face our fears with the breath of Jesus…to be empowered to have our fears and allow others to have theirs without a word of judgment, but rather to be present to ourselves and others with peace?