Our faith tells us there are two constants in our spiritual life: sin and forgiveness.  We can see that demonstrated in the lives of the first disciples.  They were unable to cope with the suffering and death of Jesus.  The gospels tell us at Gethsemane all the disciples deserted Jesus and ran away.

When we reflect on the passion we usually focus on the betrayal by Judas and Peter’s denial.  But all the disciples lost their courage and abandoned Jesus. After long association with Jesus they still failed to understand what he had come to do.

Even after the women announced they had seen the Lord, the disciples remained huddled behind locked doors.  Jesus came to them.  He did not reproach them for abandoning him.  He said : “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive they  are forgiven.”   Jesus was telling them they were forgiven and that they were to  carry the message of forgiveness to others. They were to share with others the  love and acceptance Jesus extended to them.
One scripture scholar (C. Dodd) put it this way.  “The little flock … was recreated by an act of forgiveness….. That was how the Church was brought into existence and it could never forget that its foundational members were discredited men who owed their position to the magnanimity of their ill-used master.”

In his last instruction to his disciples told them that in his name repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations and they were to be witnesses to that. (Lk. 24: 47)  We are called to be disciples of Jesus.  An essential function of a disciple is to be a witness, to give living testimony to the message of Jesus.

One of the fundamental things of which we are called to be witnesses is Christ’s forgiveness, his healing power in our lives.  To bear witness to that healing we must recognize and accept our woundedness.  As wounded disciples we are called to be humble but confident, humbled in our woundedness, confident in the healing power of  Christ.  We are stained by sin but washed clean in the blood of Christ. Through sin death comes into our lives but with and in the risen Christ we are raised from the dead. We are called to be living witnesses fo the forgiveness Jesus has won for all people.