Are we living in the freedom and joy of the Resurrection or behind locked doors?

Reflecting on our Sunday Readings with the Editor

Apr 04, 2024

Divine Mercy Sunday (B)
Readings: Acts of the Apostle 4:32-35;
1 John 5:1-6;
Gospel: John 20:19-31

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

This phrase flows beautifully, doesn’t it? This is our Easter profession of faith, a statement affirming our belief in the Resurrection. Yet, it’s also a statement that is often easier said than done. It’s one thing to proclaim the words, but another to live them.

There comes a time, however, when we must live the Resurrection. That is not always easy. There are days when we prefer to just stay in bed, pull the covers over our head, and close out the world. Some days it seems easier and safer to lock the doors of our house and avoid the circumstances and people of our lives. Sometimes we just want to run away, hide, and not deal with the reality of our lives.

Every time, however, we shut the doors of our life, our mind, or our heart, we imprison ourselves. For every person, event, or idea we lock out, regardless of the reason, we lock ourselves in. That’s what has happened to the disciples in today’s Gospel. It is Easter evening, the first day of the week, the day of the Resurrection, the day they saw the empty tomb, the day Mary Magdalene announced, “I have seen the Lord.” The disciples are gathered in the house, the doors are locked out of fear. A week later they are in the same place. It is the same house, the same walls, the same closed doors, the same locks. Nothing much has changed.

Jesus’ tomb is open and empty but the disciples’ house is closed and the doors locked tight. The house has become their tomb. Jesus is out and about, but the disciples are bound in fear. The disciples have separated themselves and their lives from the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Their doors of faith have been closed. They have shut their eyes to the reality that life is now different. They have locked out Mary Magdalene’s words of faith, hope, and love. They left the empty tomb of Jesus and entered their own tombs of fear, doubt, and blindness. The locked doors have become the great stone sealing their tomb. They have locked themselves in. The doors of our tombs are always locked from the inside. All this, and it has been only one week.

One week after Easter, is our life different? Where are we living -- in the freedom and joy of the Resurrection or behind locked doors?

In the Gospel, when John describes the house, the doors and the locks, he is speaking about more than a physical house with walls, doors on hinges, and deadbolts. He is describing the interior condition of the disciples. The locked places of our lives are always more about what is going on inside of us than around us.

What are the closed places of your life? What keeps you in the tomb? Maybe, like the disciples, it is fear. Maybe it is questions, disbelief, or the conditions we place on our faith. Perhaps it is sorrow and loss. Maybe the wounds are so deep it does not seem worth the risk to step outside. For others it may be anger and resentment. Some seem unable or unwilling to open up to new ideas, possibilities, and change.

Jesus is always entering the locked places of our lives. Unexpected, uninvited, and sometimes even unwanted, He steps into our closed lives, closed hearts, closed minds. Standing among us He offers peace and breathes new life into us. He doesn’t open the door for us but He gives us all we need so that we might open our doors to a new life, a new creation, a new way of being.

In any situation, Jesus appears, bringing peace, offering peace, and being peace itself. In every scenario, Jesus arrives, bringing life, offering life, and being life. Life and peace are the very essence of the Resurrection. They don’t necessarily alter the conditions of our lives or the world around us.

Storms will come into our lives; we’ll face illness and financial uncertainty, confront poverty and injustice, and mourn the loss of loved ones. However, the life and peace bestowed by Jesus’ resurrection empower us to face and endure these realities. He shares with us His peace, His breath, His life, and then He sends us forth. We are set free to open the doors that have kept us confined and step into His life, moving forward with courage and hope.

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