Pentecost Sunday

May 19, 2021 | Gospel Reflections

Pentecost Sunday – Sister Marilyn Kerber, SNDdeN

May 23, 2021

John 20: 19-23

Do thoughts and conflicts reside in your mind that you never verbalize? I do! Now imagine, if you will, “…the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…” and Jesus coming, standing in their midst and saying, “Peace be to you.” Really!? You are one of the disciples, what goes through your mind? The doors are locked, you’re afraid for your life because of the rumors that you are one of disciples who supposedly came at night and stole his body! Is this a ghost? Am I seeing things? You had witnessed Jesus being sentenced to death, crucified and laid in a tomb. And you had been hoping that he was the one to redeem Israel! You feel both like a deserter and the one being deserted. And all Jesus has to say is “Peace be with you.” Really?!

Peace. Words can become common place and lose depth of meaning. Shalom, peace in Hebrew, means harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. In Greek it means to reconcile, to be at peace, to make peace. It means to join, to bind together what which has been separated or divided and thus being at one again. The words of Jesus, “Peace be with you” are words of incredible forgiveness and love.

And Jesus says once again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Not only does Jesus offer peace, he also adds that he is choosing his disciples to continue to do his work. So, with these words Jesus not only offers forgiveness, he also reveals the fullness of his trust in them. After everything, is this not incredible and wonderful? Today we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is in and through the Spirit that the disciples can begin to comprehend the peace that Jesus offers and the work he requests be done.

The peace and forgiveness Jesus offered the disciples is also given to us. We make mistakes, we hurt one another; we too, are forgiven. And we, too, have been chosen to continue to do God’s work. God delights in offering us peace and in making us his partners in offering his love. In the words of Teresa of Avila:

“Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”
On this Feast of Pentecost, let us ask the Holy Spirit to gift us and each other with knowing the peace Jesus offers, accepting Jesus’ forgiveness and going about Jesus’ work.


John 20: 19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.


Meet Sister Marilyn Kerber, SNDdeN

Sister Marilyn Kerber resides in Cincinnati, Ohio and originates from Chicago, Illinois. She recently retired as the Director of the Office of Religious for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Marilyn facilitates courses for the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation Program, a program especially for catechists. She is also part of the Ohio Province Development Office’s Ministry of Gratitude. Religious Education is and has been a focus in her ministry. She has been a Parish Director of Religious Education and ministered in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Office of Religious Education for nineteen years. Sister Marilyn enjoys reading, good movies and travel to visit with family and friends and to see the beauty this world has to offer when opportunities to do so present themselves.