On this Second Sunday of Easter it is worth reflecting on the unusual experience of those disciples who were locked up in a room. They were frightened. If Jesus was put to death, they would also be hunted down, arrested and executed. Just as Jesus was a threat to the ruling classes because he preached “peace” rather than “fear” and “forgiveness” rather than “retribution”, so too the disciples of Jesus would also be a threat to the ruling classes because they actually believed the message of Jesus. Hence they were affaid.
What seemed to happen to them behind those locked doors was a real experience of Jesus. It was not just a memory of him. Nor was it a recalling of his message. It was an experience of his real presence. It was in his presence that all fear lifted from their hearts and minds.
You and I can sometimes find ourselves “locked up” with fear, worry, doubt and anxiety. Sometimes peace of mind, happiness and hope seen very illusive.
This story about the disciples locked up in a room because they were afraid is your story and my story. When we are in our darkest moments and feeling hopeless, even afraid, Jesus stands in our presence and says “Peace be with you”. And he only has one simple message for us; just as he had one simple message for those disciples over 2000 years ago. He says, “Forgive one another”. The simple message to us all is to be FORGIVING PEOPLE.
Today we are invited to forgive each other and, if we do, the real presence of Jesus will be always with us and hopelessness and fear will never burden us down again.