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Second Sunday of Easter – Go in Peace

“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’” (John 20:19-21).
This Gospel passage gives us a window into a time of bewilderment and confusion. The disciples are huddled together in fear—their leader and friend has been crucified, and they might be next.
Into this scene of apprehension, pain, and uncertainty, Jesus appears and wishes them peace! So, the friend they abandoned when he was arrested and killed by the authorities is alive, standing in front of them and wishing them peace. Quite a shock for sure. To top it all off, Jesus tells them to go out and spread his message of peace. Yet, somehow, they believe.
While working in Iraq in 2005, four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped and held for 118 days, and one was murdered. Yet, when they were asked to speak at the trials of the kidnappers, they said: “We unconditionally forgive our captors for abducting and holding us. We have no desire to punish them… What our captors did was wrong… Yet, we bear no malice towards them and have no wish for retribution…”
This profound witness does not negate the suffering that took place: when Jesus appeared to the disciples his body still bore the marks of his crucifixion. These former hostages certainly bore the emotional marks of their captivity, and yet they responded to their suffering and pain with words of peace and reconciliation. Rather, the power of this peaceful response is even greater because it is in answer to suffering and pain, not an easy thing. We, too, carry marks of events and people that have wounded us, and it can be quite difficult to move on. Yet, we are called by our faith and by Jesus to offer peace, to forgive, and even to draw positive strength from such experiences. We can choose to stay hidden in fear or to step out and bring about peace.
When have you experienced goodness, new life, or peace ultimately coming from a painful situation?
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.

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