2nd Sunday Easter – What does Divine Mercy Look Like? [2]

Receive the Holy SpiritThe gospel from Sunday (John 20:19-31) reveals divine mercy at work within the locked asylum where the disciples felt safe in their fear. Jesus stood among them. “Peace…” Then he showed them his hands and his side. Why did they rejoice?

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Why did they rejoice?

  1. Jesus stood with them in their place of fear and terror.
  2. Jesus gave them a share in the peace that will be all in all on the Last Day.
  3. Jesus revealed to them their capacity for alienation, resistance, unbelief, and violence in his wounded hands and side. 
  4. They recognized themselves immersed in the divine mercy of God because they knew themselves anew in Jesus. 
  5. They rejoiced at this revelation!

21 Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

  1. Jesus shared the Holy Spirit with them for the forgiveness of sins.
  2. And, some of you may recognize this comment: bad translation!!! If you hold fast anyone, they are held fast is the proper translation. John’s community holds people together through the forgiveness of sins. They don’t retain sins. That’s Matthew’s community.
  3. The joy they found at Jesus being in their midst & revealing to them their capacity for wrong-doing flows outward in forgiveness and holding the community together.



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