Jn 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

The Power of Forgiveness

In John’s Gospel, Pentecost and Easter are one event. One of the great Easter-Pentecost gifts is the power to forgive sins as Jesus did. Jesus comes through our locked doors and not only frees us from whatever binds us, but he enables us to share that gift with others.

In my fifty plus years of pastoral experience, one of the biggest deceits of the evil one is to convince us that one of our sins is too terrible to be forgiven. This is a temptation to despair. Jesus forgives our sins—can we forgive ourselves?

—Fr. Paul Macke, SJ, is the Jesuit Mission Coordinator at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio. He co-leads a Spiritual Direction Training Program for the Cincinnati Region.

Prayer

Spirit of the Living God Fall afresh on me. Melt me Mold me Use Me Free Me Forgive Me. Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me.

—Traditional Prayer adapted by Fr. Paul Macke, SJ