I have to talk about this weekend's readings. Because they are an essential reminder to us why Jesus was resurrected.
I'm going to go right to the gospel, Jesus's first words when he appears to the apostles are, peace be with you. Not some commandant, not some judgment, not some anguish over the fact that they all fear the Jews and are hiding. No, he offers them peace. He gives peace to them twice! The first time when Thomas is not with them, and the second time when Thomas comes to see the Lord.
We would be fooling ourselves if us mere humans could understand Jesus in the first pass. He teaches us these lessons several times throughout both his living Ministry and the Acts of the Apostles. The overarching experience is peace. Peace with your neighbor, order with your enemy, harmony with the law, peace with the government, peace with God.
When Jesus appears to the apostles, he offers them a sign of Peace because he understands that once this whole world fades away, we no longer need anything. All that will exist is peace, Oneness, true communion, or as Us Faithful Christians call it, heaven!
This Mercy that Jesus shows those whom you would think to deserve punishment actually inherit the leadership of Christ's Church. You hear how Peter walking through streets is believed to heal people only by his shadow, and we listen and Other Stories of the acts of other profound works that the early church does in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
How weak must we believe that we can't do the same miracles in our day and time? Actually, I think those Miracles are occurring every single day, but we are blind to the idea that it is God and the ministry of Jesus that makes these things happen. Peaceable action and faithful living creates a victory over nearly anything which we are faced. Even if we lose our lives!
St. John's Visions:
What's St. John proclaims in his scriptures is a gospel of love. And John being cast out to an island to have hallucinations in isolation still brings about the love of God through prophetic vision. I once heard an explanation of John's writing as this:
Imagine for a moment if you could perceive both Heaven and Earth simultaneously. What would that look like? When you read through John writings, you see that he might be at the same time envisioning Heaven and Earth in his present state. These Visions are so clear that he has to write them down in hopes that you and I might understand what it is he sees.
Now, allow me to go a little goofy. It is said that those who've had near death experiences share similar elements to their experience, but different expressions based on their faith. Now, imagine being John, the Beloved Apostle of Jesus, one who is almost like a brother to Christ, having near-death experiences on this island and writing them down as you experience them. John's tandem Heaven and Earth experience are terrifying! Think about how God has no relation to time or space, just existence. Then, imagine being able to see all of time and space at the same time our tiny human brain's would explode!
In Dr. Eben Alexander book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife he shares his near-death experience and what it is like to enter from this state of consciousness in our human body to a state of pure Consciousness in our spiritual form. The law of conservation of energy in the scientific Community explains how our consciousness has to exist beyond our mortal frame. All energy continues throughout the Universe. It's pretty crazy stuff if you look it up! Alexander's experience is that our energy creates our reality of heaven. It's hard to explain, but a book I cannot recommend enough! When I read Dr. Alexander's book, I see a similarity between the way he describes his afterlife experience with the way John is explaining his Visionary experience.
So when John has these experiences of writing these visions he is encounters something you and I will know in our own Journey between this existence and our coexistence with God when we die. That idea should either give you hope or utter fear. I'm in the camp of the former.
So when Jesus says peace be with you it's not merely a greeting, it is a profound statement on what the kingdom of heaven looks like, and it's a human frame in which we can bring about that kingdom here on Earth through, you guessed it, peace!
Now it is up to us to go forth and be the living peace of Christ and share our vision of heaven.