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First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Gospel: John 20: 19-23

In our Gospel for today, Jesus shows his disciples the wounds of his Crucifixion, and then he offers them peace. It is the wounds and the peace that carries power. The wounds alone would leave us afraid, convinced of our sin but not of a way out. The peace alone would leave us with cheap grace, a too-easy way out.

 And this is precisely why, immediately after uttering the word peace and showing those wounds, Jesus sends the disciples on a mission of forgiveness: “He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.’”

 The Church receives its essential mission and identity as the bearer of the divine forgiveness. We have been entrusted with speaking the peace of Jesus to a fallen and hopeless world. But it’s not cheap grace that we share. We participate in Jesus’ mission of showing his wounds as well. The Church refuses to explain sin away or make excuses for it or call it by another name.
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