|Proper 10, Seventh Sunday After Pentecost||July 15, 2012||Proper 10, Seventh Sunday After Pentecost||Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 9, Sixth Sunday After Pentecost||July 8, 2012||Sermon, Proper 9, Year B||2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13|
|Proper 8, Fifth Sunday After Pentecost||July 1, 2012||Sermon, Proper 8, Year B||Lamentations 3:21-33; Wisdom of Solomon 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Mark 5:21-43|
|Proper 7, Fourth Sunday in Pentecost||June 24, 2012||Sermon, Proper 7, Year B||Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32; Mark 4:35-41|
|Proper 5, Second Sunday in Pentecost||June 10, 2012||Sermon, Proper 5, Year B (Second Sunday of Pentecost)||Psalm 130, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1|
|Trinity Sunday, Year B||June 3, 2012||Trinity Sunday, Year B||Isaiah 6:1-8; Ps 29; Romans 8:12-17;John 3:1-17|
|Day of Pentecost, Year B||May 27, 2012||Day of Pentecost, Year B||Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15|
|Sixth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 13, 2012||Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 98, 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17|
|Fifth Sunday in Easter, Year B||May 6, 2012||Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:24-30; I John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8|
|Fourth Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 29, 2012||Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B||Psalm 23, 1 John 3:16-24, John 10:11-18|
|Third Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 22, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||Luke 24:36b-48|
|➤Second Sunday in Easter, Year B||April 15, 2012||Second Sunday of Easter, Year B||John 20:19-31|
|Easter, April 8, 2012||April 8, 2012||Sermon, Easter Sunday, Year B||Mark 16:1-8|
|Good Friday, April 6, 2012||April 6, 2012||Good Friday||John 18:1-19:42|
|Maundy Thursday, April 5, 2012||April 5, 2012||Maundy Thursday||John 13:1-35|
Second Sunday in Easter, Year B
Sermon Date:April 15, 2012
Scripture: John 20:19-31
Liturgy Calendar: Second Sunday of Easter, Year B
Wait! What is going on here?
Why have we suddenly fast forwarded to what seems like the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, fifty days after the resurrection, the day on which the Holy Spirit descends, in a rush of wind and flame on the disciples, who have gathered together in one place!
That day the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and begin to speak ecstatically in other languages, bringing people from all over Jerusalem running to see what on earth is going on with these men who seem to be possessed!
The powerful story in Acts, regarding the coming of the Holy Spirit to the early church, has its beginnings in the Gospel according to John. Before his death, after Judas has gone out to betray him, Jesus talks to the disciples in one last long and loving conversation. And in that conversation, meant to bring them peace and comfort, he says many things, like “Let not your hearts be troubled—“ “In my father’s dwelling place are many mansions” –familiar words of comfort –and
Before his death, after Judas has gone out to betray him, Jesus talks to the disciples in one last long and loving conversation. And in that conversation, meant to bring them peace and comfort, he says many things, like “Let not your hearts be troubled—“ “In my father’s dwelling place are many mansions” –familiar words of comfort –and
In this same conversation Jesus promises the disciples the gift of the Holy Spirit.
He says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.”
The Paraclete, the Advocate, the Helper, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Francis Moloney, a Catholic theologian, writes that Jesus keeps this promise and God bestows this gift from the cross itself, when Jesus says,
“It is finished.”
In his gospel, John tells us that at this moment of his death, Jesus bows his head and hands over his spirit.
As Jesus breathes out his last breath, God hands over and pours out on those who love him the Spirit that will fill them all with new life.
And so we come to today’s events.
The gospel reading we have just heard takes place on Easter Day, the day of resurrection. According to Mark, the gospel we heard last week, Jesus does not appear to the women or to the disciples on this day. Instead, they receive the promise that they will meet him in Galilee.
But John shares the good news in his gospel that Jesus met Mary Magdalene in the garden the very morning of his resurrection, and sent her to tell the others that he is alive and will be returning to our Father.
And then, to make sure that the disciples really receive what he has promised them and has already given them on the cross, Jesus shows up in the place where the disciples have been huddled together all day in fear.
“Peace be with you,” he says.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
But these scared disciples are in no shape to be sent out!
So Jesus gives to them again the gift that God has already poured out on the cross, the gift that will empower them to go out as the very body of Christ in this world.
Jesus breathes on them and says to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Just as God blew the breath of life into the lifeless figure of Adam, made from the dust of the earth,
Now–Jesus blows the breath of his very being into these disciples who are practically dead with fear.
He breathes new life into them.
But where does that leave us?
Like Thomas, we weren’t there in the physical presence of Jesus to receive this new breath of life.
However,even today we can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit! One of the ways we receive this gift is through baptism. If you were here last Sunday, you witnessed Holly being baptized. After her baptism, I said these words as I placed the mark of the cross on her forehead. “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and marked as Christ’s own forever.” Our baptisms make us disciples of Jesus!
But being a disciple is not only to rest just as we are in the joy of the resurrection, not only just to revel in the peace of being Christ’s own forever, but also to grow into God’s love—a lifelong process—so that we can do what God has asked us to do—and what Jesus asked the disciples to do—to be sent out to do God’s work in the world, as witnesses to God’s love.
At the end of the gospel lesson, Jesus says to Thomas,
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
We are the blessed believers. We can’t see Jesus as the disciples did, but the promise of Easter is that we can breathe him in, with every breath we take.
And breathing Jesus in, we find we are delivered from sin and death, we feel our hearts open like flowers to God’s grace and truth. We find every cell of our beings filled with God’s holy and life giving spirit.
When we breathe in Jesus, and the breath of God, we find ourselves filled with strength and the courage to go out into the world bound together with one another in witness to God’s love.
And on that last day, when each one of us reaches the end of our journeys through this life as his disciples,
We too will find ourselves rejoicing as those first disciples did on the day of Resurrection—for we will also stand before him and see him face to face.
Resource: Sacra Pagina, Daniel J. Harrington, S.J. Editor, The Gospel of John, Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B.