Everything was different now. There was a time when everything made sense, but that was when Jesus was with them. Whenever He was with them, even when fierce storms raged, His presence alone brought peace.
Fearful and confused, the disciples had locked themselves away. They were now the targets of the emboldened Jewish authorities. One can only imagine the conversations taking place behind closed doors. What would they do? Where would they go? Everything had changed, and there was a sense of hopelessness that filled the room.
Suddenly there He was, standing in the midst of them, but how, they were sure they had locked the doors and yet there He was. At first, they refused to believe what they were seeing, but then He showed them His wounds and spoke as only He could – words of peace. And at the sound of His voice, fear ran, and uncertainty crumpled.
“As the Father has sent me,” He said, “I also send you.” And then He breathed upon them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” He then told the most peculiar thing, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”
What did He mean? Only God can forgive a man for his sins. Yes, that is true, but the great privilege of the Church is Her mission of declaration. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Jesus came to proclaim, not only in words but in deeds, the love of God. When Jesus breathed upon them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit, at that moment, He released the power of divine love. As the Church empowered by the Holy Spirit, we go forth to declare in word and deed the heart of God that all might receive His invitation to be reconciled and restored.
Church, it’s not just a verbal assignment; it’s a commitment to a way of life! Love without action is empty! God, help us!