Second Sunday of Easter B
April 11, 2021
John 20: 19-31
By Rev. John Tran
Once St. Augustine remarked about today’s gospel reading, that Jesus had healed the wounds of other people, and yet he showed his own scars. It would seem that in his risen glorious body that his body would be healed of the scars of his wounds. Could it be that these wounds had become so much a part of who Jesus Christ is as a human that he could not leave them behind? Could it be that for all eternity, Jesus wants to show the depth of his love for us physically on his body?
One thing for sure, these sacred wounds were necessary in today’s gospel reading for Thomas to believe absolutely. That could be the main reason for the wounds: that it would be easier for those who knew him in this world to believe that he had risen from the dead, if the wounds were there. But as Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” We are part of that group of believers.
There is another way to look at these wounds. Their presence makes sure that we remember that Jesus carries our wounds and woundedness always within him. We are all wounded. Some of us carry deeper and heavier wounds than others. These wounds can be physical or mental or spiritual. Healing is an internal process that puts us right, and to do this we need to face our wounds. Jesus did just that in carrying his wounds in his body for us to see. By the sight of Jesus’ wounds,Thomas was forced to look at his own wound of lack of faith . And in recognizing his woundedness, Thomas was healed.
But there is another thing to consider. Maybe we do see Jesus wounds today as we go through our days and weeks. But unlike Thomas, we do not really want to embrace and kiss these wounds. They are the wounds we see in each other; the wounds we see in the beggar on the street; the wounds we see in the kind or class of people we simply cannot stand; maybe it is the wounds of the most annoying person we know. This is the real meaning of the wounds that Christ carries in his body even now. The wounds of Christ are present every day in many different ways. We can still touch them; perhaps we just fail to see them.
The wounds of Christ did not touch every one in a positive way, the way they touched Thomas or Peter. For Judas, they became a self destroying force, as they can sometimes be for us. I remember reading this example of how Jesus wounds brought the healing they are intended to bring. On October 6, 2006, an armed man entered an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. He chased out the little boys and lined up the 10 little girls in front of the blackboard. He shot all of them and then killed himself. Five of the girls died. After the medics and police left, the families of the fallen came and carried their slain children home. They removed their bloody clothes and washed the bodies. They sat for a time and mourned their beloved children. After a while they walked to the home of the man who killed their children. They told his widow they forgave her husband for what he had done, and they consoled her for the loss of her spouse. They buried their anger before they buried their children. These Amish Christians teach us that forgiveness is central. They believe, in a real sense, that God’s forgiveness of themselves depends on their extending forgiveness to other people.
The wounds of Christ bring redemption to all who accept him. May these healing wounds touch us today to bring the healing we receive to others. Through his bruises we are healed; part of our very salvation is to effect that same healing. When Jesus healed, he reached out, touched, spoke, and healed woundedness. Life changed forever; faith was restored. Ask Peter, Thomas, and those Amish families.