It can happen in the closest of families and even among lifelong friends. A disagreement, a “falling out” a misunderstanding, a sin of commission or omission can place a distance between and among people. These often seem impossible to heal or overcome or forgive.
It happened to Jesus and His chosen disciples. At His last supper with them, they shared the Eucharist for the first time. He empowered them to do the same, in service and love to others. And He would always be present in the Eucharist.
Their response was to run away and abandon Him when he was arrested. Peter, chosen to lead the others, would deny he even knew who Jesus was. They scattered and argued over what they should do. The Father raised Jesus from the dead! The disciples came together in fear and hid.
But Jesus didn’t bear a grudge or hold a resentment or cut them off. Rather He came among them and forgave them and gave them the gift of His peace and empowered them with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then even strangers could recognize the unity and love among this rag tag bunch of apostles. Pope Francis says, “the peace bestowed on the apostles (and on us and on our Church) does not bring freedom from problems, but brings peace in problems”. This peace and its freedom draw us together again, to forgive, to understand, and to allow love and care to regrow and strengthen life giving bonds of love, faith and friendship.