Reflection on the Lectionary: John 20:19-31
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflection on the Lectionary: John 20:19-31
(April 11, 2010)

In this passage, Jesus returns after the Crucifixion and greets his disciples saying, “Peace be with you.” If we are going to generate and maintain communities that are loving, compassionate, and forgiving, we must feel at peace. Though there is struggle and suffering in the world, we must find ways to avoid the fear, anger, and regret that cripple our natural yearnings to be compassionate and to connect spiritually with everyone around us.
Those who seek power for their own ends generate support by fear-mongering, convincing people that enemies wish to harm them. While it is foolish to ignore real dangers in the world, we cannot allow those dangers to paralyze us from seeking truth and justice.
Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (20:23). I understand this to mean that forgiveness interrupts the cycle of sinful accusation and recrimination that impedes reconciliation and love. We are called to help establish the realm of God on earth as in heaven, and having peace in our hearts is crucial to this witness.

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