Despite Jesus' greeting to the disciples, the weeks following his resurrection are anything but peaceful for the struggling community. Instead, the disciples are confronted with the task of forming community without Jesus, deciding who belongs and who doesn't, and struggling with the overwhelming fact of the resurrection. Their only instructions were those we still use: Jesus' greatest commandment, to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12), and Paul's additional plea to "love not in word or speech but in deed and truth" (1 John 3:18).
As we celebrate some of the most beautiful mysteries of our faith, the Trinity, Pentecost, and the ascension, we are invited to look at our lives and communities with new eyes, and to welcome the Spirit that "renew[s] the face of the earth" into the dusty corners of our churches (Psalm 104:30). The Trinity calls us to redefine our expectations of God and to allow the Spirit to reveal new faces of herself. We will wrestle with the concept of the ascension and its implications about the sanctity of our own bodies.
The return of ordinary time brings Mark's revolutionary perspective. He will continue to show us the kingdom of God breaking into the world through Jesus, and the joy of the good news for the oppressed and forgotten. And through the entire season, questions of the depth and strength of our faith will arise again and again: "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" (Luke 24:38).
This season we are invited to walk in the footsteps of the early community, to let their questions be ours, and to find ourselves more ready to accept the risen Jesus' first and most important words: "Peace be with you."
Michaela Bruzzese is a freelance writer living in Chile.