On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you!
After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to be sent when you don’t want to be? What kind of issues does it raise in you if you would rather be locked away “for fear of the Jews”? Even if you’re not sure who the Jews are ………. even if you’re one of the Jews yourself?
Of course we don’t really know what was in the minds of the disciples do we? Most of them had either seen the risen Christ or heard pretty conclusive testimony that he was alive. Also of course, we know that in John’s Gospel the phrase “The Jews” is a code for the leaders, the persecutors of Jesus.
So the disciples were not really hiding from themselves – or were they?
After all, we don’t hide from ourselves, do we? We don’t fail to face reality do we?
So what really happens in this locked upper room, away from reality? What happens is that reality breaks in, in the form of the one person who most of the Jerusalem would think ought not to be there. And he does it while the disciples are, in theory, safely protected from any outside interference.
He just stands there and, as he so often does, while they are scared half to death tells them to be at peace. Shalom. God’s total serenity be with you brothers and sister. Let it all be yours now. Here, in this God-forsaken place. Yours.