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Divine Mercy Sunday 2018

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Divine Mercy Sunday…… “Transforming Woundedness”

          We receive a message in the gospel’s resurrection accounts.  We hear it every year.  The message is very clear, “Jesus is risen.”  But what does resurrection mean?  The accounts in scripture are meant to help us understand.  What are they saying?

            Resurrection is not simply resuscitation.  Jesus, when he comes back after death is not like Lazarus coming out of the tomb.  Lazarus rose only to die again.  He had a physical body like everyone else’s body.  The Gospel writer wanted us to know that Jesus is not like that.  He walked through walls.  He was not confined by time or space so he was not simply a man who had been brought out of the grave. 

            He was also not a ghost. And there were several things that he did that seemed to show that.  He celebrated Eucharist with his disciples.  We remember the story of the Road to Emmaus.  The resurrected Jesus became known in the breaking of the bread. He not only shared the Eucharist with his disciples, he also ate other meals with them. 

            But there was another thing that he did to show that he was not a ghost.  He encouraged people he knew to him to touch his wounds. The resurrection event did not take away his wounds.  His glorified body still had them.  Isn’t it rather disconcerting to think that we will carry our scars for all eternity? 

            But maybe it is this gospel fact that can have the most meaning for us as we live our daily life right now.  Is it possible that Jesus did not transcend the difficulties of this life when he died and rose, but instead he transformed them? His wounds became glorified not nullified.  The wounds became part of what made him impressive.  Can our wounds become something that can transform us?

            The Japanese tell the story of a great samurai warrior who approached a monk and said, “Tell me about heaven and hell.”  The orange robed monk looked at the warrior as he sat in the lotus position. He spoke in a quiet voice saying, “I cannot tell you about heaven and hell because you are too stupid.”  The warrior filled with rage reached for his sword.  “Besides that, you are an ugly man who I do not want to deal with,” the monk said.  As the warrior moved to strike the old monk said, “Now you know what hell is like.”  Stunned by the courage of the monk in the face of his rage, aware that anger had gotten him in trouble throughout his life, the samurai fell to his knees realizing how his anger as well as his bitterness had made his whole life miserable.  The wise monk said, “Now that is heaven.”

            Perhaps a sign of resurrection is that we become aware of our scars.  At times we have trusted only to be betrayed. At other times we have sought friendship, only to be rejected by the one who was so attractive.  Maybe we have been laughed at as a youngster, humiliated by others, left out.  As we have lived out our life, possibly we have been overlooked when we deserved recognition.  Perhaps all of these experiences have led to feelings of envy, jealousy, sadness, anger.  At times when we feel this way we might want to distance ourselves, run away, retreat, crawl into a hole, give up on life.  When we are tempted to do this, we might want to try to react the opposite way.  When the voice from hell says run we may want to stay.   When it says distance yourself, we may want to draw closer.

            Jesus had every right to give up on his motely band of disciples who betrayed him, rejected him, deserted him. Truly they wounded him emotionally just as much as the scourges, nails, thrones, and spear. But our Lord came back to those disciples.  He said, “Look at me now. You wounded me, but I have not given up on you.”  When the disciples saw these wounds, they fell down to worship. What wounds do we carry?  What wounds have we inflicted on the Lord?  He will never reject us.  In the end, he will draw us to himself.  Now this is the power of the resurrection. We do not have to wait until the end of our life to experience it.  But an awareness of the fidelity of the Lord Jesus to each one of us can transform our souls today.

 

Please Note: rough draft, grammar may not be perfect



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