3rd Sunday of Easter
A story is told of the great missionary to Burma, Adorinam Judson. Judson went to the King of Burma to ask his permission to be allowed to go to a certain city to preach. The King, a pagan but quite an intelligent man, responded, “I’m willing to allow a dozen preachers to go but not you – not with those hands.” “My people are not such fools as to listen to your preaching only; but they will take notice of those calloused, work-scarred hands.” The wounded and scarred hands of the missionary were his most powerful means of preaching what he believed.
Today’s gospel reading recounts theappearance of the risen Jesus to two of his disciples. It says that while the two are speaking, Jesus stands in their midst and says to them, “Peace be with you.” But the disciples are startled and terrified – thinking that they are seeing a ghost.
Then Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” One of the first things that the risen Lord did was to show his wounded hands and feet to his disciples and asked them to look at them and to touch them. Sapat na ‘yun sa mga alagad para maalala nila na ‘yun ang mga kamay at paa na ipinako sa krus – mga sugatang kamay at paa… wounded because of love… wounded for our redemption. The wounded hands and feet made them remember what a great friend they have in Jesus. This is also what Jesus would like us to remember.
Jesus, even after his resurrection, still carried his wounds. Since he had a glorified body, he could have dispensed and disposed of his wounds and scars. But he still carried them. Why? Because the wounds of suffering he got from the cross show his self-sacrificing love for us. The risen Lord kept his wounds and scars as evidence of his love.
Jesus’ wounded hands and feet should still remind us of his love for us. What I am referring to are not only the hands and feet that were nailed on the Cross; rather, I am also referring to Christ’s wounded hands and feet in the person of our sisters and brothers – the hands and feet the risen Lord is using to continue manifesting his love for us.
And, of course, I am not only referring to their wounded hands and feet, but to every wounded part of their being. I am referring to the wounded persons: Wounded because they keep loving us in spite of our weaknesses, and even if others find us unlovable and unloving. Wounded because of the sacrifices they make for us and because of the crosses we make them carry for us. Wounded because of the pain and suffering, sadness and sorrow, rejection and betrayal they experience with us. Wounded because they keep on giving even when there is nothing left to give except their exhausted, consumed selves. Who are the wounded persons in your life who serve as proofs of God’s love for you?
What wounds are we to show as proofs of our love for the wounded Christ? May we be able to show the wounds we get from loving selflessly, sacrificially, and unconditionally. Loving not only those who are easy to love, but especially those who are difficult to love, or the seemingly unloving and unlovable. Continuing to love them even when logic says doing so will only hurt us – deeply. May we be able to show the wounds we get from being faithful. Faithfulness to marriage, vow, or commitment. Remaining faithful even when others are not. May we be able to show the wounds we get from serving humbly. Serving our parish community, not only when it is inspiring to do so, but especially when it is not. May we be able to show the wounds we get from forgiving those who hurt us. Forgiving not seven times, but seventy times seven times – which enables us to will and want the best for our enemies. May we be able to show the wounds we get from giving generously. Giving not only from our surplus, but even from our need. Giving until it hurts, and until it hurts no more.
Let us end with a prayer: Lord Jesus, risen Christ, your wounded hands and feet are a proof of your self-giving love for us. Help us to live as you lived, and to love as you loved, so that at the end of our lives we may be able to show our own wounded hands and feet – wounded because of love. Amen.