Some of us can remember a time when locking doors was simply not something people did. neighborhoods were communities that looked out for each other. Strangers coming into the midst were noted. But beyond this there was a trust and companionship that marked the atmosphere and locking doors seemed unnecessary. Today our neighborhoods tend to be marked by fear. Fear has become a way of life for some of us. But fear is nothing new. In today’s gospel, we find the disciples in a locked room because they were afraid. Fear marks a serious breakdown in relationships. Forgiveness marks a serious attempt to rebuild relationships. It is no surprise, then, that Jesus bestows on this fearful group the gift of peace, the Holy Spirit, then sends them out on a mission of forgiveness.
Twice Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” Peace is indicative of the presence of the Spirit in those whose lives are characterized by forgiveness. Peace is the way we witness to healed relationships within us and the larger community.
This forgiveness is about building right relationships, about allowing the peace of Christ to replace fears that stifle our conbecting to one another. The risen Christ breathes into us the Spirit-this capacity to firgive-and sends us into the world to unleash this Spirit.
Every day is a Pentecost.