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Gospel Reflection for April 23, 2017, 2nd Sunday of Easter
Sunday Readings: Acts 2.42-47; 1 Peter 1.3-9; John 20.19-31

Jesus said to his disciples, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." - John 20.21-22


On the evening of the first Easter, Jesus' followers lock themselves safely in their own company within their own walls. Most of us know a safe circle like this in which we all share the same values and express bewilderment at those different from us -- the people who cook smelly food or accept same-sex marriage or love incense and Latin Mass. Many today have become the non-affiliated who stay in their own big chairs far from the rigidity and scandals of institutional religion.

The risen Jesus surprises the community of his friends who have gathered in fear and teeter between the fact Jesus is dead and the unsubstantiated news that he is risen. Jesus comes among them, breathes Spirit into them, and forgives them. He hands over to the community the work that God has sent him to do -- to bring God's love, forgiveness, and healing to people in the world. In John's gospel, to believe is not only to share in the life Jesus receives from God but to be sent from God as Jesus was, to live in the world in the power of the same Spirit. The gift of love and forgiveness which Jesus gives his followers on the first Easter becomes their mission to others.

How do you continue the first disciples' mission to love and forgive?


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