The call to come back to life is not something that an apostle of Jesus Christ normally thinks applies to himself. It is rather the call for the world, a world which has not focused on the Lord, a world that has not been reborn into the family of God. And yet when the risen Jesus breathes on the disciples in the latter part of John’s Gospel, the imagery is unmistakable.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (John 20:19-23)
In the book of Genesis, God breathed life into the nostrils of man bringing his creation to completion. In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet is told to speak to the people: Thus says the Lord God, come from the four winds O Spirit, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live (Ezekiel 37:9). And here, before being sent out into the world to bring atonement through Jesus Christ, the disciples are also given the gift of life.
It is true; you and I need to constantly come back to life after falling into sin and death. We cannot give what we do not have. God has given us new life through the Church and His priesthood. Give it away. Let the Spirit you have received in the Sacraments make of you a ransom that wins back hearts for God.