John 20 19-23

Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said,
“Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

Gospel Reflection

It’s frustrating, but we all have limitations, and those limitations stop us from achieving. Finding time is probably one of our biggest limitations. By the time we’ve done all the things we have got to get done in any given day, there’s very little time left to do anything new, let alone trying to save the world. We’re limited by lack of knowledge, lack of wisdom, and lack of ability. There are things we’d like to do and like to achieve, but there’s so much we need to know, learn, and develop before we can even begin. So what do we do when we come up against limitations? Perhaps some of us put our ideas on a back burner. We kid ourselves that we are going to get things done but we never do. Many of us probably just give up, or worse still, bury our heads in the sand. We become ostriches.

In today’s gospel the disciples are behaving a little like ostriches. They know what they should be doing, but they are hiding away for fear of the Jews. They are hiding from the Jews but they are also hiding from their own destiny. They have come up against their limitations and they are crippled inside. Then Jesus comes amongst them. He comes to give them an inner peace and an inner strength. He comes to breathe the Holy Spirit into them and all at once they are able to transcend the fear that had kept them trembling behind locked doors.

People are always telling us to know our limitations. As Christians we know our limitations, but we also know that we have the Holy Spirit to help us transcend the seemingly impossible. Saint Paul tells us the Spirit is working in all sorts of ways in different people. To find the Spirit within us, we need to look at our own strengths and gifts. Have we found ourselves strong in situations where we didn’t expect to feel strength? How do we find that strength again when it really matters? Make it a daily mantra. Ask the Holy Spirit for help, guidance and the ability to find our inner strength.