Breathing Mercy

Easter Sunday 2, Year B

Breathing New Life: Reflections on Transformation and Faith in Uncertain Times

Greetings, dear friends and members of our spiritual family. I am Fr Richard Healey, and today I want to share with you a reflection that has been on my heart, especially considering the tumultuous events that have unfolded in 2020. As we gather in our own upper rooms, isolated yet together in spirit, I invite you to ponder the profound lessons we can draw from the disciples’ experiences and the ever-relevant teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Breath of Life Amidst Global Turmoil
The year 2020 has been a year like no other. We began with the devastating bushfires in Sydney, witnessing the destruction of God’s creation and the fragility of life. Then, as if the fires weren’t enough, the world was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that has taken countless lives and left us gasping for breath, both literally and metaphorically. Amidst this chaos, the tragic death of George Floyd served as a painful reminder of the deep-seated injustices that still plague our society.

In these moments of despair, the essential nature of breath for life has never been more evident. Breath, the very essence of our being, has been threatened, restricted, and at times, violently taken away. It is in this context that I wish to draw your attention to a powerful biblical scene that offers hope and guidance.

The Upper Room: A Scene of Transformation
Imagine with me the disciples in the upper room, a diverse group united by their shared experiences of confusion, shame, and grief. They were in a state of lockdown, much like we have experienced, filled with uncertainty about the future. Into this room of fear and doubt, Jesus enters, offering peace and breathing new life into them.

This act of breathing is not just a mere gesture. It is transformative, echoing the breath of God that brought Adam to life and the prophecy of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel, where breath revives an entire army. It is the same promise Jesus made at the Last Supper, a promise of the Holy Spirit that would guide and sustain his followers.

Encountering Jesus Personally
The intimacy of this encounter with Jesus is something that each of us is invited to experience. When Jesus breathed on the disciples, they were transformed from a state of fear to one of joy and wonder. This was the moment of Pentecost, the fulfillment of God’s plan for humanity, where the disciples were empowered to go forth and spread the Good News.

The Significance of Thomas’ Faith
In this reflection, we also cannot overlook the significance of Thomas’ declaration of faith. Often dubbed ‘Doubting Thomas,’ he too was offered a personal encounter with the risen Christ. His subsequent proclamation, “My Lord and my God,” is an invitation for all believers to experience a personal transformation and a deepening of faith.

The Pathway to God’s Love
The message of love and the simplicity of belief in Jesus as the Christ are the pathways to receiving God’s love, mercy, and transformation. It is through this belief that we are invited into a relationship with God, one that breathes new life into our weary souls.

As we reflect on the themes of breath, transformation, and the intimate encounter with Jesus, let us recognize the universal invitation to receive God’s love and new life. In these trying times, may we find solace in the knowledge that Jesus is still entering our upper rooms, offering peace, and breathing new life into us. Let us open our hearts to this transformative breath of the Holy Spirit and emerge from our own upper rooms renewed and ready to face the world with faith and hope.

Thank you for joining me in this reflection. May the peace of Christ be with you always.

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