It is evening on the first day of the week. Remember that St. Johns Gospel is rewriting the creation story in Genesis. Earlier, the Beloved Disciple and Mary of Magdala realise that Jesus is with God. Now, they discover that He is also in their midst. Jesus is with God (ascension) and with them (resurrection) at the same time. He is the bridge connecting us with God. The Mediator between the Sacred and the Creation. He is as He has always been. 'And there was evening and there was morning, the first day'. (Genesis 1:5)
Notice how the first words He speaks are words of Peace! These words are spoken with the gesture of opening His hands and showing His side. He shows them what Love has done to Him. How the waters of new birth now flow from His Heart, to them and through them. They are being sent as He was sent. Staying in His Peace, and being faithful to the Love that has no end, will be their guide and their strength.
And then, when all has been said and done, there is really only one message that the new community has to bring. It is a message of forgiveness. This is the word that will make or break the new creation, just as it makes or breaks us.
I turn once again to John O'Donoghue, who puts this call to lead in the work of reconciliation more beautifully than I could. It is his 'Blessing for Love in Time of Conflict'.
When the gentleness between you hardens,
And you fall out of your belonging to each other.
May the depths you have reached hold you still.
When no true word can be said, or heard,
and you mirror each other in the script of hurt.
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
may you hear again the echo of your first music.
When the weave of affection starts to unravel,
and anger begins to sear the ground between you.
Before the weather of grief invites the dark seed of bitterness to find root may your souls come to kiss.
Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
to allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt.
Reach out with sure hands to take the chalice of your love
and carry it carefully through this echoless waste.
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you towards the gateway to spring.