I wish people would stop calling me the “Doubting Thomas.” I never doubted Jesus. I doubted this thing called the “Resurrection” since no one was changed by it. In fact, if you remember, I am the one who said that we should go and die with Jesus as we traveled to see Lazarus in Bethany. I believed in Jesus. I believed in his mission. I believed in his words. I believed that he was the Son of God.
But this empty tomb hit me! It hit all of us like a ton of bricks. All I had to go on were the words of a few women. We called them gossips and we mocked them. Mary of Magdala ran around telling everyone that he appeared to her. Why didn’t he appear to me? I’m his “twin”…that’s how I got the name, Didymus. They said that I looked like Jesus.
So I went looking for the risen Lord myself. I was not afraid like the others. I did not fear the political or religious leaders. But, I was not going to sit behind closed doors waiting in fear. I heard that he appeared to all sorts of people. I wanted him to appear to me. So I went searching…all afternoon…and all evening…and when I got back I found out that he had just been there. I was so angry! I told Peter and the others that I didn’t believe them. Unless I see the wounds, there is no proof.
And then it happened: he came right through the doors and he knew…he knew what I needed…he knew that I needed to see the wounds. There was no lecture. There was no reprimand. There were no harsh words. There was only an invitation to see, to touch and to believe! That was enough. I did not need to touch for at that very moment, I fell to my knees and said while crying, ‘My Lord…My God!’ He-was-truly-risen-indeed! And I found faith because I found God in the wounds.
That is why he appeared to Mary of Magdala. Seven demons possessed her—she found God in the wounds! That is why he appeared to Peter. Denial fell three times from his lips-he found God in the wounds! That is why he appeared to Mary, his mother. Crucifixion broke her heart; she was pierced through too on Golgotha– she found God in the wounds. That is why he appeared to Cleopas and those on the road to Emmaus. They were scandalized that the Messiah was crucified- they found God in the wounds. Now I know why he did not appear to me. I was not ready to see God in the wounds. I was not afraid like the others but I was proud. And, I am embarrassed to say that I abandoned him when he needed me the most. I, his twin, ran away. Maybe that’s why he appeared again one week later…I needed to find God not as an apparition, nor as a ghost! I needed to find him in the wounds in the middle of my own community!
Both Peter and Luke would agree with me. The Risen Wounded Lord is found in community: in the communal life; in the breaking of the bread; in the sharing of our goods; in our trials. And the Lord is found in the wounds of the community, this community! We who lived with him; ate with him; spoke with him were very, very blessed. But you believe and you too are blessed. Many of you lost a spouse or a family member…blessed are you! Some of you still grieve quietly, blessed are you! Some of you are lonely, blessed are you! Some of you are in deep physical pain, blessed are you! Some of you are still working out very personal issues, blessed are you! Some of you have lost memory, blessed are you! Some of you still struggle to fit in here, blessed are you! Blessed are those of us who have not seen the Lord and have believed especially with your wounds! If there is one things I learned that Resurrection night, it is this: the holiest among us are those who minister from the depths of our wounds. This is the real mission of Sacred Heart Monastery and Villa St. Benedict~ living in community, wounds and all!
When the Risen Lord appeared to us disciples, do you remember the room? It was the Upper Room, the place of that first Eucharist. There we received the Spirit. There the Risen Lord wished us the fullness of peace. And there a wounded Risen Christ ministered to a wounded Christian community.
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.
The Second Sunday in Eastertide, Cycle B