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Touch His Wounds

April 19, 2020

The Incredulity of St Thomas by Rembrandt ca. 1634)

A reflection for the 2nd Sunday, Easter, Year A. The readings are Acts 2:42-47; Psalm: 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9 and John 20:19-31. Written in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic in April 2020.

Sometime towards the end of March I started praying – really praying – for an end to this pandemic. I asked God to end the pandemic on Easter Sunday. Wouldn’t that be great? If on Easter Sunday, as the sun rises on every time zone, the virus is slowly killed – all over – and all those who are sick would be cured. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Then the world would know that Jesus is alive and that He is Lord! Then we would all know that this virus was to be bring glory to God! Like Peter says in today’s second reading: we would have gone through this little trial so that our Faith would bring Glory to the name of Jesus. Oh how that would glorify His name! There would be so many conversions and so many vocations. So many people would come back to the Church. Oh, that would have been great.

Well… needless to say, Easter Sunday came and went, and here we are, a week later, and the virus is still here. And it’s worse. So much for God showing his power and might. So much for bringing Glory to His Name!

Little did I remember that the first Easter was not much different. The Sunday of the Resurrection came and went, and not a lot of people noticed. Except for the guards at the tomb, the women who went to the tomb and the disciples to whom Jesus appeared that first day, nobody else noticed. For most people around the world, that day came and went, just like any other day. And for the apostles, all the Gospels tell us that even after seeing the resurrected Jesus, they were still afraid, still confused, still uncertain of what was to come. Here we are a week later and the apostles are still self-isolated, in the upper room, with the doors locked, for fear of the Jewish authorities.

Which is why the first thing that Jesus gives them when he appears is peace. He gives them “shalom”. That’s more than just an absence of conflict. Shalom means wholeness. And today, in our self-isolation and fear of this virus. Today as we wonder about what the future will bring, we may not need the kind of peace that takes away conflict – although some of you may need that. But we need wholeness. The whole world needs to be made whole again. Maybe that’s what this little virus is forcing us to do: to be whole again.

And once we are whole, we are able to receive the second gift that Jesus gives the disciples today: Joy. The Gospel tells us that “when they realized that it was the Lord, they rejoiced!” Being in the presence of Jesus brings us joy. And that too, for us today, is not always easy. Maybe some of you have lost your jobs or you can’t work; maybe you are sick or are worried for a sick loved one. It’s hard to find joy. At the same time, many of us are finding great moments of joy as we spend more time with our families, but who can deny that these are not the most joyful times. We need peace. We need wholeness. We need joy.

And that wholeness and joy lead to the third gift that Jesus brings the apostles today: purpose. The apostles have a very specific mission. They are told to bring forgiveness to people; to bring His Mercy to people. Maybe for some of you this is a time that requires forgiveness and reconciliation – maybe. But for most of us this crisis is calling us to a specific purpose. Maybe that purpose is as simple as staying home and helping stop the spread of the virus. Some of you are front-line workers or work hard at providing us with the essential services that we need. We thank you for that. We thank you for your sacrifice. There’s joy in that. That is a clear purpose. Maybe your purpose during this time is as simple as spending less time watching Netflix and spending more time in prayer and more time with your family; helping your family find wholeness and purpose and find joy.

2000 years ago Jesus had appeared to those apostles and he brought them the gifts of wholeness, joy and purpose. And he gives us these gifts to us today as well. Not just today, but all the time, but we need them more today than ever.

What’s difficult is that you may not feel like Jesus is present. You may not feel joy or wholeness or purpose. And maybe that’s because you made the same mistake I did. I was looking for Jesus only in his Glory and I failed to look for him in his wounds. But it’s impossible to separate Jesus’ Glory from his wounds. That’s why Jesus shows the disciples his hands, his feet and his side. Don’t be afraid to look for Jesus in his wounds; in his scars. Those are the fonts of His Mercy. There are a lot of people who are wounded right now. And God knows that when it is all over, there will be a lot of scars. Don’t be afraid to look for Jesus in your suffering, in your wounds, in your scars. Give him your wounds, give him your anxiety, give him your fears, in your confusion and in your worries so that He can transform them; glorify them, as He does every time we gather for the Eucharist.

And when you do, you will find Him, and you will find peace, wholeness; you will find purpose.

And you will find joy.

And the name of Jesus Christ will be glorified!

From → English, Reflections

One Comment
  1. Sylvia Castellani permalink

    DEACON-“TAMINATING” – THAT’S SO CLEVER. I LOVE THAT!!!!!

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