“Peace be with you.”
Monday, 12 April 2021
The Risen Jesus is always the bringer of consolation. Consolation, in this sense, is not simply comfort. It is an intense experience of peace, joy, hope and new courage. In every resurrection story, Jesus engages with one or more of his followers to help them to find consolation and peace after the devastation of his passion and death.
The disciples had lost their way of life overnight. Their friend and teacher, the one they had thought would bring salvation, had been brutally executed. They had locked themselves away, afraid even to go out to get food, in case they might be linked with Jesus and arrested. Into this group, huddled behind closed doors, fearful for their physical safety, Jesus brings a message of peace.
Jesus comes in through the closed doors of our fear too. At this time of pandemic where we live in fear for our physical safety and the safety of those we love, we need to hear the words he repeats three times in this Gospel, “Peace be with you.” We have also had our way of life disrupted. At times when case numbers have soared, we have been locked behind closed doors, afraid of a virus that could hurt us or those we love.
Jesus has already explained that the peace that he brings is a peace that goes far beyond the ordinary peace of the world. His peace allows us to feel securely anchored in love, even in the very worst of the storms of life.
When we experience terror or anxiety or feel overwhelmed with grief, we can enter into this story. When we feel locked into our own upper room, we can become aware of the presence of Jesus in the room, see his face, as he speaks to us, “Peace be with you.”