Fear of drowning keeps us from learning to swim. Fear of losing love keeps us from loving. Fear of going broke keeps us from investing. (Though I’ve always had sympathy with the poor guy in Matthew’s gospel [Mt.25:25] who buried his master’s money rather than risk his master’s ire over a bad investment. Jesus, I guess, not so much.) It’s hard to argue with the observation that fear easily keep us from living fully.
It’s easy to imagine the disciples locked in an apartment somewhere in Jerusalem bemoaning the mess they were in since Jesus’ arrest and execution. How would they ever get out of town and back to Galilee without someone recognizing them and informing the temple authorities. Gone were dreams of God’s Reign: the long-awaited Time of the Messiah. Now it was just about saving their necks.
The gospel story presents Jesus’ appearance to the disciples as extraordinary because he was able to pass through physically locked doors. But that was symbolic of something much more amazing. Jesus was able to break through their paralyzing fear and refocus their energy on God’s Future.
Get up off your couches, stop hiding and start forgiving people’s sin. Go teach, as I’ve taught, that God isn’t bound by their weaknesses and mistakes. God’s promise of the New Future is infinitely more powerful than whatever evil they come up with or succumb to. They have to learn this. No one else is showing them. You’re the ones to get the message across by your love, your service and your respect for them. You can’t allow yourselves to hide here till dark and try to slip out of town. If you do, you and everyone you could have touched will live the rest of their lives as prisoners of human weakness. Go!
In essence, That’s the commencement message of every Baptism, every Confirmation, every Marriage, every Reconciliation and every Eucharist to this day.