Our 5 wounds

Does anyone here know what are the only man-made things in heaven? By a show of hands, how many think that they know the answer?

For those that don’t know, there was a hint in today’s gospel. It was what Jesus used to identify himself to the apostles. Remember? It was also the identifier that Thomas used as the way that he would be sure that he would, in fact, be standing in front of Jesus.

Now do you know that answer? When we are all glorified in heaven, walking around all perfect and dazzling there will be only one person that will be wearing the five man-made wounds of the crucifixion.

What a terrible identifier. And think how terrible Thomas felt that he used them as his challenge to Christ’s identity.

We have to feel for Thomas. Here, he had been locked up in the upper room with all of the other disciples for who knows how many days. No doubt they were all getting just a little on each other’s nerves. They were under a lot of stress. They didn’t know if the next knock on the door would be that of roman soldiers wanting to take them away to their crucifixion. So, Thomas went out for a walk. Scripture doesn’t say where he went. Maybe he just went down to the local 7-11 for a Slurpee or a kosher foot long, but when he got back what was the first thing that he heard? “Thomas! You won’t believe it! As soon as you went out Jesus showed up. No Kidding. No sooner had you stepped out the door then he was just like right here in this room with us. You totally missed it.”

“Yeah, right. You guys are always giving me a hard time. I don’t believe a word that you say. “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Given the similar circumstances we might have said something similar. And how unfortunate that would have been.

Have you ever had that happen to you? Just after you say that one thing that you know you shouldn’t then that the prediction comes true. That time when your sister got a new bike for her birthday, and you were so jealous that you said that you hoped that she would have a flat tire. Or the time that you were fishing with friends, and one buddy kept pulling in fish after fish, so you secretly wished that his rod and reel would just fall off the boat. You just know that this same feeling was going through Thomas’ mind when Jesus reappeared.

“I didn’t really hope that you would get a flat tire.” “There is no way that I really wanted your rig to fall into the lake.” “There is no way that I actually wanted to put my hands into the wound in your side.”

“Come on Jesus, you know me. You know how these guys are always kidding me? I was just talking to get back at them.”

But that wasn’t the point, was it? Some things you just don’t joke about. His five wounds were purchased at a very great price. They are, in fact, the things that sets Jesus apart from everyone and everything else.

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. No doubt you have seen the image of Jesus as seen in a vision by St. Faustina. It is the image where Jesus has his right hand raised, as if He is giving a blessing. And his left hand is touching a point just below his heart. From that place there are two bright rays of light pouring out towards us. One is red and the other is white for the blood and water that poured from Him as He hung on the cross.

What I have always thought interesting about the most popular of these images is the fact that the nail holes are clearly visible in his hands and you can just see the holes in his bare feet peeking out from His long white robe. In the image Jesus is radiant and magnificent but he is clearly wounded. These were four of the wounds that Thomas argued that he had to touch before believing that it was really Jesus, but when Thomas saw him, he fell to his knees and simply said, “My Lord and my God”.

Towards the end of the second reading John wrote, “When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.”

The apostles had just witnessed the crucifixion. The last supper was just over a week before. Good Friday was just Friday before last and they have already forgotten, they had begun to question what it had all meant. Thomas was not the only one, he was just the one that voiced his doubts. Not long from that night the apostles would find themselves surrounded by those that would want for them to do miracles in Jesus’s name, as we heard in the first reading. But for now, on that evening, they were afraid. So, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you”. When he turned to Thomas he said, “do not be unbelieving, but believe”.

On the Divine Mercy image there is a banner with the words, “Jesus I trust in you”. I know that this is not the direct quote from Thomas but isn’t that what he said? When he said, “My lord and my god” didn’t he really mean, “I am so sorry, I never really doubted you, I was stupid and week and above all Jesus I trust in you.”

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Blessed are all of us that have not seen and have come to believe. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love is everlasting.

JN 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “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.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

April 24, 2022

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