Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Upper Room

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Daily Gospel with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.105)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (20:19-31)
'Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And 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; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus and Thomas
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

The Purpose of This Book
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.'

Have you ever been amongst the last group of mourners to leave the church or graveside at a funeral? Usually it’s the funeral of someone who meant a great deal to us, and saying that final goodbye can be gut wrenching. I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt in today’s reading? They waited behind locked doors, possibly in the upper room of the 'Last Supper.' What for? What were they expecting to see happen?

Was their grief tinged with hope? After all Jesus had risen from the dead. But where was He? What was the point if He wasn’t even amongst them? In fact what was the point of anything? They had given up their homes and jobs and put their lives at risk believing that He was going to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

And then He was with them and the mood changed. 'They were glad when they saw the Lord.' As their time with Him unfolded so too did the message of His coming become clear. "As the Father sent Me, so I am sending you."

The message Jesus had come to share had to be spread via His disciples. They received the necessary strength and courage when Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into them, along with an absolute conviction that they had God’s authority to be His messengers.

Yet surely they would have been conscious of the trail of sins they had committed leading up to that moment? Is this why Jesus went on to talk about forgiving sins? Isn’t that the very message He wants them – us – to understand?

When I look at my life I wonder how I can possibly be God’s messenger. The truth is, I can’t. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness for my trail of sins I can do nothing. 

Sometimes I need to come before Jesus and tell Him all of this. It’s then that I receive renewed strength, courage and conviction to keep passing on His message.

Susanne Timpani

5 minutes: READ the text slowly.
REFLECT on a phrase or word that struck you.
SPEAK to God about your thoughts.
5 minutes: LISTEN to God speak to you.
RESPOND with a prayer that feels right for you.

Next Reflection: Sr Melanie Edwards MGL Sister   Wednesday 15th April, 2015