Fear, Forgiveness, Fervor

It is the eighth day. In the liturgy, we call it – The second Sunday of Easter. And the gospel reading begins with that position in the calendar. On the eighth day, what happened on the eighth day the Lord appeared. And what was the situation of the apostles then? Hiding.

The first word to remember is fear. They were afraid. They were afraid. They would be next because the followers of Jesus were now under persecution. And the threat to suffer the same fate like Jesus was very evident. But not only that. They were also afraid of themselves because they had a ghost haunting their conscience. That they had abandoned the Lord. They had abandoned the Master. Contrary to their promise in the upper room, they were afraid to die. They were also afraid of the ghosts of their mistake, the ghosts of their betrayal, the ghost of their infidelity, and they were also afraid of the Lord. They were afraid of being rebuked. They were afraid of being judged, of being condemned, or being sent away for being such unfaithful apostles. They had stayed with the Lord for three years together and yet they were still foolish and they did not understand. And then the Lord appeared without any rebuke and the Lord just said – Peace.

The second word is forgiveness. It was not rebuke. It was not condemnation. It was not a declaration of guilt but rather, forgiveness. The Lord said to them – Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, so i send you. Forgiveness is the gift of the risen Christ and forgiveness is the gift of the disciples of the Lord to the rest of the world.

And then after that, what happened? Fervor. Because after receiving forgiveness, the Lord breathed on them and said – Receive the Holy Spirit.  Fervor. Fire. And because they have received the Holy Spirit, fire has been restored. The passion for the Lord, the passion for the mission has been restored. My dear friends, it is the eighth day and on the eighth day, we acknowledge our own fears. On the eighth day, we are grateful for the forgiveness that the Lord brings. And on the eighth day, having been breathed upon by the Lord and receiving the Holy Spirit, fervor is restored.  The fervor of the forgiven ones. Let us be reminded that if there is any fire, if there is any passion, if there is any spirit that is within us, it is not borne from our worthiness. It is not borne from our heroism. It is all borne from the mercy of the Lord. Today, on the eighth day, I request you to ask yourself what makes me afraid? What are the ghosts in my conscience that haunt me until now? What are my skeletons in my closet that prevent me from encountering the risen Lord? Are my eyes still fixed on the cross and not yet on the empty tomb? Receive forgiveness and let that forgiveness come into your soul. The Lord does not question you. Do not question the Lord. The Lord gives it to you freely. Receive it freely and gratefully. And as you receive forgiveness, receive the breath of the Spirit and set forth. Proclaim. Share the goodness of the Lord with everyone. It is a Sunday of Divine Mercy.  The eighth day. Recognize your fears. Be grateful for the forgiveness, and move forth with fervor, and declare to everybody – It is the Lord, my Lord, and my God.

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