Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our reading for the second Sunday of Easter, John 20:19-31, we find the risen Jesus coming to his disciples. The disciples have locked themselves in. They are holding themselves hostage. John speaks to the reason. They are afraid of what the Jews might do to them.
All of a sudden, Jesus is standing among the disciples. We notice that the disciples don’t ask Jesus anything. Jesus takes charge of the conversation. He proclaims God’s peace. He breathes on the disciples and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit. We don’t see the full force of that impartation of the Spirit immediately. The disciples remain fearful and disturbed. Not all of the disciples have returned, either. Thomas, who is missing on that first occasion, is with the others a week later when Jesus appears and calls them to trust again. This still doesn’t complete the job. John recalls that Jesus did many other things with his disciples, presumably some of them after his resurrection.
Why do we hear this teaching? John says it is so that we may believe. Are we to believe just in the resurrection of Jesus? Actually, the resurrection and the other signs urge us to believe that Jesus is the Christ. It is this belief that gives life. So we read and proclaim this message again and again. Christ is risen from the dead. He is the one who has redeemed us and gives life through belief in his name.
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