“Peace Be With You”

This isn’t Ordinary Time but a season of purposeful time. On this Second Sunday of Easter, we continue to remember the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus and marvel in the light of the Risen Lord. As we do so, we find our identity, as the body of Christ.

Eastertide is about the resurrection of Jesus; yes, but it also and perhaps especially about the new life he opens up for all in the body of Christ and the unstoppable mission on which he sends us as his disciples. It’s a mission of making sure the poor get good news, of releasing captives (and welcoming them back into our communities!), healing and restoring the sick, the lame, and the blind, witnessing to and joining the work of God’s kingdom whenever and wherever it may be found, and declaring God’s saving love and power that brings us into eternal life through Jesus Christ by our words and our actions.

We haven’t seen the risen Jesus in person with our eyes, yet many of us believe. Many of us can testify that “the Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God.” Still all of us, at times; and some of us, nearly all the time, struggle with belief, just like Thomas in the story from John’s Gospel. This story comes as a radical shift in tone. This story is for those who haven’t yet believed or seen or felt something of the resurrection of Jesus.

Three times in the Gospel the risen Lord addresses the gathered “Peace be with you.” What is this peace He brings?  It is a peace that allays fears, empowers forgiveness and prompts us to accept that suffering and death is the doorway to new life.

When we live this “Peace of Christ”, our lives are marked by self-giving, forgiveness and genuine care for the other – even our enemies. As we offer the “Peace of Christ” today, let us remember, we move from bright lights to shadows, from joyous determination to fearful confusion. And the good news in this story is that our risen Lord comes to us wherever we are, however we are, and brings us what we need to believe, never condemning us for our doubts but meeting us in them.