The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
May 20, 2018 – Pentecost Sunday - John 20:19-23
It always brings a smile to my face when I read about the appearance of Jesus to his disciples who had locked the door. They were fearful of outsiders. Jesus had been crucified by the authorities. They must have wondered whether they were next.
Suddenly, Jesus was standing there with them inside the locked room! They must have been startled, amazed, a little scared, probably confused and befuddled (such a wonderful word!). Jesus calmly says, “Peace be to you.” They responded, “What?” (I added that.)
Jesus appeared to them because he still had to inform them of a few matters that they might not have grasped before his death. Or, at least not the full implications of what they needed to know. His additional message went something like this.
The work I came to accomplish is not finished. You can think of it as chapter one. You (and those who follow you) are the main characters in chapter two. So, go out to the whole world telling everyone what I have taught you. Tell them about what you experienced with me. Tell them about how much God loves them. Mention the new life I have brought to you: life abundant here and life with God forever. Baptize them into this new life of grace. What I have begun, you are to complete. All of you. Now, get going.
We have no record of what the disciples thought or said about all this. We do know what they did – and what we are to do as well. They unlocked the door, went out into the street and got to work. Disciples of Jesus, then and now, are not to sit around and do nothing – although years later some thought that is was okay to do that. (History called them “the quietists.”) Being a disciple of Jesus, no matter what your state in life – whether you are a parent, a spouse, a priest, a vowed religious, a single person, a daughter, a son – you have a job to do based on the marching orders given by Jesus to his first befuddled disciples.
Living a Christian life is serious business. As is said today, a 24/7 activity. St. Paul will write that whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you may do, do all for the glory of God. So, all our actions witness to God’s active presence in the world. We are disciples of Jesus at home, at work, while shopping, while at school, while in the fields or at the workshop or at the dental office or while just sharing a blessed moment with someone close (or even better, distant). Go out into the world (which means everywhere) and love.
©David M. Thomas, PhD