On Easter morn Jesus rose from the dead. When the apostles heard the news, at first they were doubtful, then they were excited…and then scared. They were excited to learn that he came back to life. But they were scared, wondering if he would forgive them. Would he even come to see them? They knew they had blown it. They didn’t deserve to be called his friends any more. He certainly would be justified in ignoring them and recruiting new followers to do his work.
So when Jesus appeared in the upper room where the apostles were gathered, they stared at him in anxious anticipation. What would he say? Would he denounce them? Would he call down his angels to punish them?
In today’s gospel from Mark, he rebukes them for not believing those who saw him earlier.(Mark 16:14) In John’s gospel, he says, "Peace be with you." (John 20:21) In both gospels he sends them forth to proclaim the gospel.
They were pardoned! They were absolved! They were still on his team. Now the resurrection was Good News for the apostles. The apostles not only saw the wounded hands and feet of Jesus. They also saw the face of God, — the face of forgiveness, the face of love.
Freud said, "How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved." After experiencing Jesus’ forgiveness, the apostles were sure of being loved. So we read today in the Acts of the Apostles how people noticed the boldness of Peter and John. (Acts 4:13)
As we fix our gaze upon the crucifix we too can be sure of being loved. We too can be bold. Like Peter and John, we are the companions of Jesus.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/