Wounded and Resurrected!

Where is the apostle Thomas? Everyone cowers behind locked doors for fear of those who kill Jesus. However, Thomas is not behind the locked doors. Some say that Thomas goes looking for Jesus. Jesus appears to the women and he wants Jesus to appear to him. And since Thomas does not get an appearance he refuses to believe that his Lord is raised from the dead.

Can we blame him? People call him “doubting,” a name my mother often gives to me when I call into question family matters as a youngster. But Thomas’ other name is “Didymus,” which means “Twin.” Fr. Raymond Brown writes in his works that maybe Thomas looks like Jesus, hence, the name. So, why wouldn’t he go looking for his twin? The proof he needs is found in the wounds. Thomas wants to see the nail marks in the hands and he wants to put his hand into his side. Then he can believe.

In the last few years these wounds of Christ fascinate me. Three years ago I preached on this day, “we can find God in the wounds.” Yes, the wounds are symbols of the sin of the world, so says Fr. Robert Barron. God comes to us in the person of Jesus the Christ and we kill him; we pierce him; we bury him hoping that he will go away. Instead, he rises from the dead and he keeps showing us his hands, and his feet. He keeps showing us his wounds.

Why? The point is this: The truly risen among us show us their wounds. They are the ones who say, “Put your hand here and see the wounds. Touch me and know my wounds. Stop your unbelief and believe that Jesus redeems us wounds and all.”

To illustrate- the New York Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization that helps the homeless in New York City. A little while ago they begin a project they call “Have the Homeless Become Invisible?” We know this question deeply, brothers and sisters. When we pass the homeless many of us do not even look at their faces for fear that we must engage them. We fear their wounds. So, this non-profit company decides to make a video to show that you and I pay no attention to the homeless. It starts out: “Have the homeless become so invisible that we wouldn’t recognize our own family members living on the street?” So, this NYC organization contacts people to act as actors and actresses- homeless people on the streets of Manhattan. Then, the company contacts these peoples’ family members quietly to ask them to participate in a sociological study of people in NYC. When they arrive at the study, the team asks them good memories of their closest loved ones. Veronika says: “My sister and her family have lived in New York for eight years now. She took care of me when I was a little kid because my parents were working.” Shaunya says: “Every Sunday I cook. And so my uncle calls me and he says, “Hey, watcha making?” Tom says: “Nobody meets at bars anymore, but I meet my wife in a bar and thirty-four years later, it’s still working.” Evan says: “My grandma had a lot of costumes from the theatre she started. When we were kids we dressed up in those costumes and we put on little sketches for the family.” Alison says: “My whole life, I always felt we were a team, my brother and I. I think that there’s nobody who can understand you like your family.” When these same people walk to their interviews they all avoid the people they love…sitting homeless in the streets. They don’t even recognize them. When the company shows them the video of them passing by, raw emotions come to the surface. A husband shakes his head. One young woman turns her head aside. Another woman gets emotional because reality gets real close. When a woman walks by her mother, her aunt and her uncle, one of them says, “Shaunie won’t look.” And a young man is speechless because he fails to see his own loving cousin as homeless. These scenes are so raw that one person who participates in the study drops out because the person fails to recognize another family member.[1]

My brothers and sisters, we all have wounds. And it is difficult to admit that we are wounded. The disciples fail to recognize the Risen Lord. We fail to recognize one another, and the homeless, and the poor, the destitute, the hungry and the struggling among us. How odd, because there are none among us NOT wounded.

In the video[2], all of those wounded go back to their family members on the streets. They hug and kiss and talk. That’s what Easter people do- we exchange peace and we spend time with one another. The Acts of the Apostles talks about what the community shares in common- money, prayers, Eucharist, possessions, meals and peace given to us by the Risen Lord. The truly risen among us show us their wounds. Why not show the world that it is ok to be wounded and resurrected?

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6jSKLtmYdM

[2] The title of the video is called: “Change how you see the homeless. And the website is called, MakeThemMoreVisible.Com

 

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One response

  1. Fr. Becket, OSB and Charles McLimans,

    Charles as you said yesterday when you literally fed Fr. Kent and I back with the details of this homily – this is a masterwork of preaching. The message it transmits is so powerful that anyone could not be moved. Those who taught us to preach at St. John’s at Collegeville would be very proud. Bill Skudlarek would be beaming.

    Pope Francis last week in his homily at the canonization Mass spoke of the same mystery: recognizing the wounds of Christ.

    As a preacher I am so gifted by Fr. Becket’s writing and preaching and sometime when I am in Naperville I would love to meet him.

    By the way, I watched the you tube video of this experiment and found it equally moving.

    What a beautiful story both from the Gospel (now appreciated in a new way) the video which speaks directly to the Gospel message. This is a message that Francis is trying to get through to us and we are finally understanding what he is saying. Not because his message is spoken in complicated language or mysterious thought but because we finally understand that the wounded and the poor are with us, in fact they are us! The Pope is getting through! Alleluia!

    Thank you Fr. Becket and thanks Charles McLimans for bringing Becket to me!

    Fr. Mike Klarer Monroe, Wisconsin

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