It shouldn’t come as a surprise. We hear it in the gospel every year in the Easter season. “On the evening of that first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them.” (John 20:19, emphasis added) This year, however, the words seemed to dance in front of me, as I read along with the proclamation of the gospel.
In this time of shelter in place, the reference to locked doors drew a parallel between the Apostles and today. In both circumstances, the confinement is used for safety: from the Jews for the Apostles and from the coronavirus for us. Modern living has changed daily life so much, that when one can see a correlation between activities 2,000 years ago and today, we need to sit up and take notice. The physical barrier was up, but Jesus was able to appear, bodily, in their midst. And His greeting was one of peace.
After many weeks of being in the same four walls, small nuisances start to add up and tempers may be getting a bit frayed.. The talk of relaxing restrictions may almost be more of a way to give us all something to look forward to rather than being realistic to implement in the near future. Our challenge is to be at peace by leaning on Jesus and then to bring that peace to others. We don’t need to go outside our four walls to find the peace of Jesus, He will bring it to us. We only need to receive it, to be open to His grace.
Faith is not just something we have during the hour of Mass and that’s it. It’s expressed every moment of every day, in our responses — in the ways we think, act, and in what we say. We may not be able to go out and help others, but we can help those that are in our own homes and within our circle of contacts. And we can bring the peace of Jesus to them. It can be as quick as a text message, as long as a chat on the phone or even a video call.
There will be a time when the doors are thrown open and we can go out, just like when the Holy Spirit came and the Apostles went out to fearlessly evangelize. But now is the time for shelter and safety, for prayer and for peace.