Catholic Bible Encounter: Legion of Mary Bible Study
(V 19) "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you. (v20) ' When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (v21) (Jesus) said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' (v22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. (v23) Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
Having described how Christ appeared to the holy women (Jn. 20:1-18)
Two Things are done during this appearance in Jerusalem:
1. Jesus appearance at Jerusalem before all except Thomas and Judas
2. His appearance when Thomas was present
Jesus appearance at Jerusalem before all except Thomas and Judas
a. We see the Lord appear
b. We see a duty/sending imposed on the apostles, "I send You"
c. Our Lord gives them a spiritual gift - "Receive the Holy Spirit"
a. We see the Lord appear
-Circumstances of Christ's appearance
First, St. John mentions the time of day - on the evening
Second, what day it was, first day of the week
Third, condition of the place, "the doors were lock"
Fourth, the state of the apostles
First Circumstance: the time of day - on the evening
The time of our Lord's appearance was in the evening; and there were two literal reasons for this. First, Jesus wanted to appear when they were all together; consequently, he waited until evening, so that those who had been at various places during the day would be found together in the evening, when they gather together. Secondly, our Lord appeared to strengthen and comfort them. And so he chose a time when they would be more afraid and in need of comfort and strength; this was in the evening: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Ps 46:1)
There is also a Spiritual reason: for at the end of the World our Lord will appear to the faithful in the middle of the night when the cry is heard that the bridegroom is coming to reward them. "And when evening comes, the owner of the vineyard said to the steward, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages' (Mat 20:8)
Second Circumstance: What day it was, first day of the week
The day Christ appeared was the very day on which he arose, for it was the evening of the first day of the week, Sunday.
This is the reason why we sing: 'This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it' (Ps. 118: 24). We can also understand from these events that on the day of the general resurrection Christ will appear openly to all men, women, sinners, pilgrims, because "Every eye will see him, every one who pierced him' (Rev 1:7).
Third Circumstance: the doors were lock
The place is described as having the doors locked. The literal reason for this being that it was late, during the night, and also for fear of the Jews. From Christ's point of view the doors were shut so he could show them his power by entering through closed doors.
Christ did this miraculously, by the power of his divinity. Just as Christ's leaving the womb of his virgin mother was a miracle of his divine power, so was his entering through closed doors.
Fourth Circumstance: the state of the Apostles
We should imitate the conduct of the apostles, for they are described as gathered together. This too is not without its mystery; for Christ came when they were united together, because Christ and the Holy Spirit are present only to those who are united in charity.
Christ showed that he was present with them beyond any doubt because Jesus came and stood among them. Jesus came, personally, as he had promised: 'I go away, and I will come to you.' (Jn 14: 28). And he stood among them, so that each one could recognize him with certainty. Jesus stood among them, to show that he was human like them.
b. We see a duty/sending imposed on the apostles - "Peace be with you"
He greets them with the words, Peace be with you. It was necessary to say this because their peace was disturbed in many ways. Their peace with God was troubled; they had sinned against him, some by denying him, other by running away; 'You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered'
(Mat 26:31). To cure this Jesus offers them the peace of reconciliation with God: 'We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son' (Rom 5:10), which he accomplished by his suffering.
He showed them his hands and his said
Jesus gives them sure proof that it is really himself by showing them his hands and side. Because in them the marks of his passion remained in a special way: 'See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself' (Lk 24:39). And when in glory he will show himself in the same way: 'If a man loves me, he will keep my word, (Jn 14:23), "and I will manifest myself to him" (Jn.14:21)
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord
Now the effect of his appearance is mentioned: this was the joy in the hearts of the disciples whey they saw the Lord, as he had promised: "I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice" (Jn 16:22).
Sending of the Apostles, as
He charges the apostles with their ministry: first, he grants them the bond of peace; secondly, he charges them, as the Father has sent me.
The apostles recognized the authority of Christ, and knew that he was sending them by divine authority. They were also strengthened because they recognized their own dignity, the dignity of being apostles; for an apostle is one who is sent. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you: that is, as the Father, who loves me , sent me into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:17) - so I, who love you, send you to undergo suffering for my name - "I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Mt 10:16).
Receive the Holy Spirit
Jesus makes them adequate for their task by giving them the Holy Spirit, "God, who has qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a wr4itten code but in the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:6).
In giving of the Holy Spirit, he first grants them a sign of this gift, which is, that he breathed on them. We see something like this in Genesis (2:7), when God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," of natural life, which the first man and woman corrupted, but Christ repaired this by giving the Holy Spirit
Forgiving of sins
This forgiving of sins is a fitting effect of the Holy Spirit. This is so because the Holy Spirit is charity, love, and through the Holy Spirit love is given to us: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." (Rom 5:5). Now it is only through love that sins are forgiven, for "love covers all offenses" (Prv 10:12); "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1Peter 4:8)