2nd Sunday of Easter (Ages 6-9): Contagious
Listen to the Gospel and Reflection
The Gospel for this Sunday actually begins on the evening of the day that Jesus rises from the dead, so full of the Risen Life that he can never die again. Although Mary Magdalene knows that Jesus is Risen and has told the disciples, they hide in a house with all the doors locked. Fear fills them.
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.
Into their fear, Jesus comes. He shows them his wounds and they know it is truly him. Now they rejoice.
Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’
Jesus repeats himself. Two times he says, "Peace be with you." When Jesus repeats himself, we know we must pay close attention. He gives the disciples peace, and then he sends them. What is this peace? We wonder where he sends them.
Then Jesus does something kind of strange:
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
He breathes on them. This seems very strange. We know not to breathe on other people. We know that illness spreads in breath. We know about being contagious.
Does Jesus not know that he could be contagious? Why does he do this?
We can think together about breath. If we breathe, it means we are alive—we have life. Jesus breathes, so he is alive—he has life. He is not a ghost. We know, in fact, that we can only hold our breath for a short time, and then we have to breathe. We can even say that our breath is life. So, when Jesus breathes on the disciples, he breathes his life on them. His Risen Life.
He makes his Risen Life contagious.
When he breathes on them he says, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
So the Holy Spirit is his breath; the Holy Spirit is his Risen Life.
The Holy Spirit is contagious.
Jesus gives the disciples peace.
He gives them his Risen Life.
He gives them the Holy Spirit.
And this is contagious.
Jesus sends the disciples. They go out and share that peace, that Risen Life, that Holy Spirit with others. And what do those people do? They share his peace, his Risen Life, his Holy Spirit with more people. Over and over. On and on. Across the world. All through time. Even to me. Even to you. Even to us.
We are also sent.
When we gather at Mass, there is a special moment when we share a "Sign of Peace." Whose peace do we share? We know to whom it belongs! That same peace Jesus shares with his disciples, he shares with us, and we share it with others.
It is contagious!