By Fr. Frank Timar, M.S.C.
For three years, the disciples of Jesus saw Him do incredible things. Yet, when Jesus was arrested, almost all of the disciples ran away and hid behind locked doors. One would expect them to put up a fight to save their Friend. But they were afraid they would suffer the same fate. Even after Jesus came into their hiding place on the evening of that first Easter, and after Jesus greeted them with “Peace be with you” they were still afraid and stayed in hiding.
So many of us are like those first disciples, hiding behind locked doors, hiding from things that frighten us. There was a time when people didn’t lock their doors. They trusted their neighbor. We lock ourselves in and have hi tech security installed. Why do we build walls all around us? Perhaps it’s because we have been hurt so often and, certainly, because not everyone is trustworthy. On almost every page of the Bible we find the words, “Do not be afraid!” God knows we are afraid. Our fears make us feel insecure. We worry about so many things.
Easter opens doors and breaks down walls. No door is going to keep God out of our lives. The Acts of the Apostles gives us story after story about the early Christians. In one such story, Peter healed a man crippled from birth. He truly believed he could do this in Jesus’ name, and his faith was rewarded by a healing miracle. Peter and the other disciples discovered that the Spirit Jesus had breathed on them was a Spirit of power. But first, they had to step out from behind those locked doors, and then the Spirit worked marvelous things through them.
At our Baptism, we received this same Spirit to guide us to a life of service, just as He had called His first followers to a life of service. We are called to bring Jesus’ message of love to the whole world. He told them and now us, “As the father has sent me, so I send you.” He put this on our shoulders. It is a part of who we are right now, missionaries for the Lord.
The first disciples were to preach the need for repentance starting in Jerusalem and then going out to the whole world. Jesus breathes His Spirit on us and He sends us into the world. That’s who we are, “witnesses of these things”. What we do with it is up to each one of us. We start by reminding ourselves of the need for repentance in our own lives and to be mindful of the power of Spirit to transform us. We are loved, and given a tremendous power to change the world. And, so, the Easter story continues, and we can continue to be a part of it.