The doors were locked because of their fear…
John 20: 19
Fear came upon every soul…
and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2: 43
Fear can cripple us, make us impotent, turn us in on ourselves. That’s what happened to the apostles after Jesus was crucified.
They cowered in fear, behind locked doors.
It required the presence of the risen Jesus, offering them peace, to move them out of their grief.
But even that wasn’t enough.
Even when they were together a week later, with Thomas, they still met behind locked doors.
Perhaps they had to confront the fact of the death of Jesus before they could receive life from the risen Jesus. They had to see the wounded savior. As Fr. John Kavanaugh, S.J., beautifully puts it, “Faith must be found as much in the wounds of life as in the glories.”
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles (2: 42-47) shows us a community that reflects that life in all they so. People could see the wonders and the signs of Life in the apostles.
And “fear came upon every soul.”
Fear again, but perhaps of a different kind.
The New American Bible translation uses the word “awe” instead of fear (even though the Greek word here and in the Gospel – φόβοϛ – is the same).
Is there a fear, an awe, that opens us up, that shows forth the life of the risen Lrod and the risen community?
I think so. That fear, that awe, is the openness to signs and wonders, to seeing life in the midst of death, to letting the little signs of life permeate our souls.
That fear will let us face the fear that paralyzes, for the fear of God, that “awe” opens us to the presence of God in the midst of suffering and death, to the presence of a risen God who calls us to live.
There are signs of that life all around us. But at times we need to recall them, to open our eyes and our hearts, to unlock the doors of fear.
The Gospel concludes with these words:
There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of his disciples… These are recorded that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ , the Son of God, and that through his belief you may have life in his name.
What are the signs that Jesus does for us today – so that we may have life?