Called in Relationship as Disciples to the Risen Lord Jesus

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Marie Kolbe Zamora invites us to make a Franciscan Retreat, to contemplate Jn. 20:19-23, and reflect on our relationship as disciples of the Risen Lord Jesus here and now.

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."  20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  21 (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.  23 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."  


What is your felt relationship, as a Disciple, to the Risen Lord Jesus? What do you believe to be the felt relationship between all Disciples (i.e. the Church) and the Risen Lord Jesus?

Notice in this very brief Gospel text how the Risen Lord Jesus appears to the Disciples at a moment when they are all together. Jesus comes to them in their place of fear where they had remained closed off from the world. The Risen Jesus invites them to recognize Him, now Risen and Living, as the one to whom they had hoped to belong. “The disciples rejoiced” the minute they recognized Him! And as peacefully and as really as that, the Risen Lord Jesus gives life to the Church, to our communion as Disciples! Remember that the Disciples then, as now, are not “Church” just because they / we are all physically in the same room. Our communion is much deeper than a merely geographical one. The Disciples, then as now, are made “Church” by the power and presence of the Lord Jesus who has enabled them to walk past their fear so that they can, once again, and in joy, belong to the Lord Jesus who now gives them His very risen life and power in sharing with the His very Spirit!!

How does Jesus envision His Spirit to work in the communion of Disciples that is the Church? The Spirit enables the Disciples, then as now, to be for the world the very same “mission” that Jesus was for the world, a mission to reconcile all to one another and to the Father. The Spirit empowers Disciples of the Lord Jesus to become reconciliation by giving us the power to forgive the sins of those who offend us with Jesus’ own forgiveness. Or better, the Spirit empowers the Disciples of the Lord Jesus to surrender to Jesus’ forgiveness so radically as to become a forgiving presence in the face of those who sin against them. The power of the Risen Lord Jesus, communicated to us in the Holy Spirit, liberates us to no longer live offended by the sins of others, but rather permits the power of Jesus’ forgiveness to seep in and through our own words and gestures so that we become transparent icons of Jesus’ (and our own) pardon to those who sin against us.

When we reflect on how difficult it can be for us to forgive even slight offenses, and how we need the power of Jesus’ resurrection to forgive such slights, we become aware of our poverty and weakness. In this Easter season, let us look not at our poverty and weakness, but out from our poverty and weakness to the Lord Jesus. Let us welcome Him so that we might hear Him say to us now: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you” and “Receive the Holy Spirit.”