Saturday, June 03, 2017

Pentecost 2017 - Year A

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors of the upper room were closed and locked securely, Jesus came and stood in their midst

The disciples had locked themselves in the upper room because they were afraid.
They weren't sure what was going to happen next.
They weren't sure if the Temple Guard or Roman Soldiers would appear at the door and take them away to face the cross

They were also overcome with shame, shame because in a moment of fear they had abandoned their dearest friend and ran away.

Peter the supposed leader of the group had denied Jesus not once but three times and only the youngest of them had even dared to stand at the foot of the cross.

There they were afraid, alone, and filled with guilt, and suddenly there Jesus was.

The Locked doors of the upper room had no power over him.

And the first words out of his mouth were not angry.
They were not bitter, there was no shame on you, or no finger pointing.

All that Jesus said was
Peace be with you.

And to help them believe that it was really him,
he showed them the scars of his love,
the scars of his obedience, the scares  of the cross which he still carried in his hands and in his feet and in his side.

With those 4 simple words the disciples knew that they were forgiven.

They knew that he still loved them and they knew that they were set free from all of their guilt and their shame.

They were whole again.

Disciples rejoiced when they saw the risen Lord and experienced his loving mercy

Every single one of us who has experienced forgiveness which is freely and spontaneously given knows how the disciples felt on that day in the upper room.

The bigger the sin, the bigger the mistake, the bigger the betrayal, the bigger the joy when it is forgiven.

Yes Jesus burst through the locked doors of the upper room,
and Jesus burst through the doors of their locked, broken and shame filled hearts.

That´s what love does especially when it is accompanied by the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And then something even more incredible happened.

Jesus breathed on them and said
Receive the Holy Spirit whose sins you forgive are forgiven them whose sins you hold bound are held bound.

That was John´s experience of coming of the Holy Spirit.

On that day of Pentecost as related by John, the core mission of the church and the core mission of every follower of Christ was made clear.

The forgiven became forgivers.

All of us need to be ministers of mercy and God's holy peace.

We who have experienced the healing forgiveness of God need to be heralds of forgiveness and healing.

In the book, Naked and You Clothed Me, Fr. William Bausch tells the story of a 41-year-old man named Tom who was dying of AIDS.

His parents lived in so much shame because of this, that they literally locked him in an upstairs bedroom so that no one could see him or visit him.

The priest then tells how when he was finally allowed to go up to his room and visit with him, he bent over to kiss Tom on the forehead and then took his hand in his own.

The emaciated, bed-ridden man whispered to the priest with tears streaming down his face, ‘No one touches me anymore.’...

His father remained outside of the room behind a closed door — until Tom died.

At the wake, he finally broke down and wept with shame and regret over how he had neglected and abandoned of his Son.

The Locked doors of his heart were finally blown open and Mercy and forgiveness were immediately his.

You all know me
There is no facade anymore
You know I have my faults you know that I am a sinner but I have to tell you there are two moment in my life which make every sacrifice I make worthwhile.

The first is when I hold up the host and say. This is my body which will be given up for you… and it is.

The second is when I say  I absolve you of all of your sins and they are.

Just like the Apostles locked the doors of the upper room that day because they were ashamed and afraid many or most of us have areas in our lives which we keep locked up.

Sins which we just refuse or seem unable to let go.

There areas in our lives which need to be forgiven and healed.
We all know their names, anger, bitterness, pride, selfishness, lust whatever.

Today’s gospel reminds us that no sin is beyond God´s mercy and God's peace. GodÅ› love is more powerful than our closed locked hearts.

With every living breath it is our sacred mission and duty to share the forgiveness and mercy of God.

So many of us have made mistakes,
Mistakes which not only hurt us but even those we loved, ourchildren, our spouses, our loved ones.

On this feast of Pentecost, on this feast of the Holy Spirit all of us need to look into our own hearts and ask ourselves see what doors remain locked.

What areas of our lives need the the light and the power of the Holy Spirit so that they may be healed.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
Let us all seek and accept God’s mercy and forgiveness for ourselves.

Let us humbly and gently encourage others to do the same.

For Jesus said to the Apostles
Receive the Holy Spirit who sins you forgive are forgiven them
Whose sins you hold bound are held bound.


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