“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God.’” (Jn. 20:17-18)
What Jesus says in today’s scripture is remarkable. He calls the disciples “my brothers” after one had denied him and all the others had abandoned him. He doesn’t reproach, chastise, or reject them. He doesn’t try to make them feel any worse than they already feel. Instead of distancing Himself from them, He brings them closer.
How Jesus treats them is very good news for us. Today’s scripture proclaims that being Jesus’ sisters or brothers depends upon what He does and feels and not upon what we do or feel. If our being His sisters and brothers depended upon us, Jesus could be an only child.
Given that Jesus doesn’t in any way reproach His disciples, even after they had so painfully let him down, why do some Christians spend so much time scolding, shaming, and condemning? How can anyone proclaim a constantly reproaching, angry, or stingy Jesus when His heart was bursting with so much generosity? If we proclaimed the total mercy of Jesus, I wonder if He would have more siblings.
After Jesus called them brothers, He said, “I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.” Regardless of their reprehensible behavior, Jesus said that His Father was their Father and that His God was their God.
I encourage us to believe that Jesus will never be any less generous to us than He was to the disciples. We can trust that Jesus is our brother, whether or not we are always loyal, true, and steadfast. And because Jesus is our brother, we can rest assured that His Father is our Father and that His God is our God.
- What are your thoughts and feelings about being a sister or brother of Jesus?
- Do you ever wallow in feeling bad or ashamed that you aren’t a very good or faithful disciple or sibling to Jesus? Given the great generosity of His heart, what do you think Jesus would have you do with your wallowing?
- Jesus would not only like us to receive but also to share the generosity of His heart with others. Could you do so with more focus and intent? If so, how and to whom?