May 11, 2008


Pentecost - Year A

John 20:19-23

A presence that brings peace and joy

In Genesis, we find that before God’s act of creation, “the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters” (1:2). In another English, “the mighty wind” is translated as “a divine wind.” (Jerusalem New Bible). The word wind is from the Hebrew ruah, which means breath, wind, or spirit. This divine wind, together with the word of God, put order into chaos, light into darkness, and all things were created. That event marked the beginning of creation.

In John 20:19-23, Jesus appears to the disciples who have lost heart and are fearful. They are in a different kind of chaos and turmoil. He breathes on them. His word and his presence give them peace and joy. (He said to them, “Peace be with you.” And “the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”) This parallel indicates a new beginning, the beginning of the Church, the beginning of a new creation.

The Spirit of God is in all Christians who are sent by Jesus, just as the Father has sent him (v.21), to bring peace and joy to the world. Into a world of chaos for not having God’s Word, the disciples are sent to bring peace. Into a world of suffering for not knowing God, the disciples are sent to bring joy. This mission is accomplished only if in us others find the presence of God. Then, the whole world will enjoy the new beginning that the Holy Spirit brings.

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