2nd Sunday of Easter
3-6 year olds
(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)
We know that early in the morning after Jesus rose from the dead, Mary Magdalene sees Jesus in the garden. He calls her by name and then she knows that he is alive never to die again. Jesus tells her to go and tell the disciples, so she does. The Gospel reading for this Sunday begins in the evening of that same day that Jesus rose from the dead never to die again.
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...
Mary Magdalene has told the disciples the good news, but what are they doing? Are they rejoicing? Are they singing Alleluia!? No. They seem to be hiding in a house that is all locked up. I wonder if they are thinking about the cross that Jesus died on. I wonder if they are afraid that they will die, too.
When the disciples are afraid, what does Jesus do?
Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’
When they are afraid, Jesus comes and stands with them. The Good Shepherd always wants to be with his sheep.
Notice, Jesus is not an angel. When angels appear, we know they say, "Do not be afraid." That is a good message, and it would have been enough. But Jesus doesn't just tell them not to be afraid, he gives them something. Did you hear? He says,
‘Peace be with you.’
He gives them peace. What is peace?
It might help us to look at the sign language for the word peace.
The sign is made from two other signs: the first, when the hands touch each other, means "become," and the second, when they spread apart, means "still". Become still. Be still.
When the disciples are afraid, when their hearts are pounding so fast, when their tummies feel sick, Jesus gives them peace so that they can be still and know that he is God.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
But Jesus is not finished giving. There's more! We know the Good Shepherd gives abundantly!
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.’
Now he is giving them the Holy Spirit who will be with them always. Now they will never be alone.
When we are baptized, we also receive the Holy Spirit. We are never alone either!
Even now we can be still...
that we are never alone.
God is with us.