Today's Gospel (John 20:19-31) is the risen Jesus' first to the disciples f. His opening words to them is"Shalom" in Hebrew or "peace be with you". Even though the disciples abandoned him to the plotting temple authorities and the brutality of the Romans, Jesus' first words reflect that forgiveness is already given. He does not point out their betrayal or failings. He does not remind them that they fell asleep on the job. He does not even tell them that they are forgiven; he offers the traditional Jewish greeting, Shalom, that everything is as it should be. By his greeting, Jesus demonstrates that forgiveness is a posture towards others. Forgiveness is not an act of forgetting a wrong, but an attitude that wrongs never need to be held against someone in the first place. Let's get on with loving our neighbours instead. His charge to the disciples to forgive is, according to John, the vital work of the church. Everything else we does extends out of this posture towards the rest of humanity.
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