“Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” – Jn 20:26
The image of Jesus going through locked doors is a most consoling image of faith for me. Twice in today’s Gospel, the disciples were presented as confined within closed doors, locked in because of fear. Twice Jesus is seen as coming through locked doors and standing in the midst of that frightened and depressed group, breathing peace into them. During the first time, Jesus repeats the greeting again, “Peace be with you.” He must have sensed that they needed extra help to let his “shalom” greeting sink in.
There have been countless times in my life when I have been confined, even locked in because of fear. Fears that arise from the lack of self-confidence, from inability to accept personal failures, from apprehension that I can never be freed from childhood traumas, from feeling alone, from being misunderstood, from resentment, from uncertainty, etc. Other times, I’ve been huddled with others, sealed in by fear of unjust treatment, abuse of power, retribution by authorities, betrayal of vision, or a general sense of helplessness and powerlessness. And yet, the Risen One has again and again entered these experiences of personal and collective prisons and breathed out the peace of the Holy Spirit.
This is the greatest expression of divine mercy: There is no hell, no communal injustice, no private hell of wound, depression, fear, sickness or even bitterness that God's love cannot and will not descend into, breathing in consolation, drawing out peace. It’s consoling that Easter is a season of 50 days until Pentecost. There are more than 40 days for the promise of “peace be with you” to take root in our lives, again and again, especially when we offer this peace to one another as Mass and beyond.
Lord Jesus, breathe peace into the places of fear in my life and help me to be your healing, merciful love.