What lesson is the Lord teaching us by keeping his wounds intact? Perhaps we can better answer this question by turning to our own wounds. All of us are wounded. By retaining the wounds of his passion in His Resurrected Body, the glorified Jesus is showing us that we can find hope and strength by taking our wounds and uniting them to his wounds.
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (CATHOLIC ONLINE) - Did you ever stop to think why Jesus rose from the dead with wounds? Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body. I never asked myself this question until a number of years ago when I read Deacon Keith Fournier's excellent book Wounds that Heal which really inspired me.
The barriers of time and space no longer apply to him. The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness. He continually demonstrates his physical reality. The Apostles and the disciples see him, hear him, and eat with him. Thomas is told to touch his wounds. The stone rolled away from the entrance, and the carefully folded burial cloths direct our gaze to the physical. He has truly risen.
The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ. Slowly they came to recognize him, but they still struggled with doubt. We are accustomed to an annual celebration of Easter. However, for the first disciples of Jesus, resurrection was totally new. Let us remember, that the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus' daughter, and Lazarus were all brought back to life by Jesus, but not one of them continued their lives with a glorified body.
Although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary, his physical reality is now different than before. The body of the risen Lord is indeed his physical body, but he now moves about with a glorified body. Each of us will have a glorified body also at the resurrection of the dead if we persevere and are faithful.
Over and over again the gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred. The Lord is tangible, but he has been transformed. His life is different from what it once was. His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space. For this reason he can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as he desires. At times his disciples cannot recognize him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord's physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although he exists within time and space.
The empty tomb and the neatly folded burial cloths point to us that Jesus is physically alive. His crucified body has been transformed. What lesson is he teaching us by keeping his wounds intact?
We can answer this question by turning to our own wounds. What are our wounds? First, we all experience the large wound caused by original sin. Although we are baptized and original sin has been cleansed from our soul, our human nature has been wounded. Our sinful condition manifests itself in different ways and we struggle with those manifestations of fallen human nature.
And then there are the other wounds, the wounds that are smaller. We have wounds that are caused by sickness and the wounds that are caused by problems, adversities, challenges and the disappointments of life.
All of us are wounded. Even Jesus is wounded. By retaining the wounds of his passion, the glorified Jesus is showing us that we can find hope and strength by taking our wounds and uniting them to his wounds.
The eleven apostles of today's gospel passage were discouraged and filled with fear. They had lost all hope. They did not understand that Jesus had to first die on the cross in order to rise on Easter Sunday. They did not understand that the risen Jesus would bear his five wounds as an eternal reminder that when our wounds are united to his wounds we will find true peace.
"Peace be with you". These are the first words of the risen Jesus. He dispels the darkness of discouragement, despair and fear by showing the eleven his glorified and wounded body.
Thomas places his finger in the wounds of Jesus and he believes. "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe". (John 20: 27)
Many call Thomas the doubting Thomas. All of the Apostles doubted. All of the Apostles ran away and abandoned Jesus. In reality, he is not the doubting Thomas, but the courageous Thomas. He is the only apostle who knows where to find Jesus. By touching the wounds of Jesus, he begins to understand that the risen Jesus is not a ghost, but that he is truly real. By encountering Jesus in his woundedness, he is able to encounter the authentic Jesus, the real Jesus, the whole Jesus. Because he is able to encounter the Jesus that shed his blood on the cross, he falls to the ground and pronounces a profound act of faith: "My Lord and my God". Thomas is able to encounter Jesus in all of his humanity and all of his divinity. He comes to grasp the reality that the risen Jesus is the same Jesus that died on Calvary.
But, where is the risen and wounded Jesus? Where can we encounter him? As Jesus hung on the cross, all of his blood flowed from his wounds. The eternal reminder of his wounds reminds us that we are to experience him in the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Confession.
By coming to Jesus every day at Mass, for visits and adoration; by encountering the God of mercy through the awesome gift of the sacrament of forgiveness, we can dispel the despair, the discouragement and the fear that may fill our lives.
It is in the Eucharist that we encounter peace because we truly encounter the Lord. We need to bring our wounds to the risen and wounded Jesus every day in the Eucharist. It is there, at the tabernacle, that his wounds will heal us.
On this feast of Divine Mercy, let us remember the words that John Paul II wrote in his second encyclical letter: "Believing in the crucified Son means ´seeing the Father,´ means believing that love is present in the world and that this love is more powerful than any kind of evil in which individuals, humanity, or the world are involved. Believing in this love means believing in mercy. For mercy is an indispensable dimension of love; it is as it were love's second name and, at the same time, the specific manner in which love is revealed and effected vis-a-vis the reality of the evil that is in the world, affecting and besieging man, insinuating itself even into his heart and capable of causing him to perish in Gehenna" (Dives in Misericordia).
Father James Farfaglia is the pastor of Saint Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Father has a hard hitting blog calledIllegitimi non carborundum. He has also published a book called Man to Man: A Real Priest Speaks to Real Men about Marriage, Sexuality and Family Life. He is a contributing writer to Catholic Online.
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Take our Lent quiz! See how much you know about the tradition of Lent! Take our Lent quiz, then challenge your friends. See how much you know about this special season in the Liturgical year. The quiz has just a few questions, but will certainly provide a quick ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
How familiar are you with the Stations of the Cross? Take the Catholic Online survey now to share your answers to our questions. Your responses will help us serve you better by tailoring content that suits your needs. The survey is short and should take just 1 minute ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Every year we give something up for Lent. Sometimes picking what to give up is hard and other times we consider doing something extra to really immerse ourselves in what God has for us - but what are our options? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lent isn't just ... continue reading
By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Everyone knows that Mardi Gras kicks off the upcoming 40-day Lent, which honors the time Jesus fasted in the wilderness, but did you know there is more to it? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Recently the Independent released their list of "5 things you might not ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
"You may ask me: 'But, does God exist? And if he exists does he really concern himself with us? Can we reach him?' It is, indeed, true that we cannot place God on the table, we cannot touch him or pick him up like an ordinary object. We must rediscover our capacity to ... continue reading
By Pope Francis, Libreria Editrice Vaticana
The unofficial English translation to Pope Francis' prepared homily for the 2016 Ash Wednesday Mass: The Word of God, the beginning of the Lenten journey, addressed to the Church and to each of us invitations.The first is that of St. Paul: " Be reconciled to God " ( ... continue reading
By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pope Francis sent out his first audio message for "Keep Lent" over social media. 'Keep Lent' is an initiative of the Prelature of the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii's youth ministry office. According to the Vatican Radio, "The initiative begins on Ash ... continue reading
By Fr. Randy Sly
One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Author Alex Basile reflects of the true meaning of the Resurrection of Christ and how many Christians overlook the real joy of Easter. In the haziness of the first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene made her way to tomb of her friend and teacher. Fighting back tears and ... continue reading
By Fr. James Farfaglia
With the resurrection of Jesus, the physical is exalted. When we truly believe in Jesus, we are resurrected in this life because we are freed from the fear and worry that are characteristic of a godless life; we are freed from the unhappiness of a life filled ... continue reading