by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Of course, as always, we need to reflect on the scriptures every Sunday, because it’s a way of our growing and our understanding of our faith and our relationship with God. When we do that, we want to make sure that we do it within the framework of what we are celebrating. Today, we listen to the scripture in a special way to see how these scriptures teach us something about our lives as baptized and confirmed disciples of Jesus.
It’s very important for Jessa and Soci today to hear these words, but all of us who are baptized and confirmed disciples of Jesus need to listen once more and listen more deeply so that we make these readings apply to our lives as confirmed disciples. The first thing I think that’s important is to challenge ourselves, ask ourselves, what really happens when we are baptized and confirmed? They really are two things that go together.
I think we have to go back a bit to another Gospel. That is, the Gospel of John and the Gospel that we heard on Easter Sunday. It was Easter Sunday night, according to John’s Gospel, when Jesus came back to the disciples, who were hiding in the upper room because they were afraid. Jesus had been brutally murdered, and they were afraid that something like that might happen to them. So he comes into their midst.
They are, of course, amazed and overwhelmed. Very gently, he says to them, “Peace be with you.” I’m sure that must have been very reassuring, because they had all failed so badly. They were hiding, but Jesus is there to bring them peace. Then, John tells us [Jesus] breathed on them and spoke these words: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they shall be forgiven; the evil you restrain shall be restrained.”…