Friday, April 26, 2019

His Wounds and Ours

Dear Friends,

Today’s drugstores carry a wide variety of bandages. Some breathe, others are ouchless.  Some are plastic and waterproof. Still others are colorful so children would be glad to wear them. Make sure you have enough browsing time in the drugstore  to select exactly what you need!

We use bandages to cover our wounds from surgeries, accidents. Children who gash their knees or bump their heads run to adults with their wounds. They seek an end to pain. They look for comfort.
Other wounds can’t be bandaged. We see woundedness  in the stoop of someone’s shoulders, or in their eyes. Each year on Memorial Day, veterans march in our parades. Behind those eyes that look straight ahead are memories of wounds, and wounds unhealed. We try to hide our wounds, forget them, deny them, convincing ourselves that they are meaningless. But wounds matter.

Consider Jesus. On Easter evening, when he first appeared to His followers in the locked upper room, Jesus offered them Peace. Even as He did so, they could see His wounds – His badge of honor. Thomas, for whatever reason, was not there, but he was present when Jesus appeared to the disciples again.

“Touch my wounds,”  Jesus said to Thomas. In the end, Thomas did not need to touch them because, during that encounter, something leapt between Jesus and Thomas that brought Thomas to clarity and conviction. Thomas recognized Jesus as Savior and Lord – and these realizations cannot be touched or seen.

It’s important for us to remember that Jesus carried His wounds after He was raised up.
He didn’t cover them. He didn’t hide them.

The wounds of Jesus are important to us because the Resurrection can feel unreal to us. We have not seen Jesus physically or put our hands into his side.

We cannot will ourselves to believe, but when we look at ourselves in the mirror or look at other earthlings, wounded by nature or the perversity of others, we find our own wounds full of truth.
They are a fact and a sign: a fact of our humanness, a mark of our living, and a sign of our connectedness with  the risen Christ.

His wounds and ours.

Easter doesn’t mean that Jesus’ wounds are gone – or ours either. 
Easter gives us hope that we do not carry our wounds in vain.  

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Alleuia! Amen! Happy Easter!

Dear Friends,

“There was no sound to prepare us,
no noise of miracle,
no trumpet announcing the death of death,
or was it what we call life?
We did not understand and we ran from the empty tomb and then
He came to us in silence.
He did not explain
And at last I knew
That only in silence is the WORD.”

Thus Madeleine L’Engle, poet and author of “ A Wrinkle in Time," sums up that uniquely holy Easter Sunday morning.

The Word didn’t need fanfare. The WORD was free, wholly new, wholly true and real. The silent world of nature welcomed him, even before he and Mary Magdalen met.  Peter and John didn’t look for him in the silence. They left to go back to the world of noise and to puzzle out and try to explain to each other what had happened.  But Jesus, the Risen One waited in the garden, savoring all of creation, waiting until the breeze touched him, the fragrance of the garden did him homage, like the incense of the Magi so many years before.

He comes to us in silence today, wherever we are. Before he speaks or we speak, we absorb his Presence in silence. Alleuia! Amen! Happy Easter!

At the same time that we celebrate Easter, our thoughts keep going back to the stunning fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. So much was lost: history, the layers of prayer whispered or sung over the centuries. 800 years of memories. Already, the word is out that France will rebuild the cathedral. Money is pouring in. But more than that.  Think about the Easter Vigil. In churches all over the world, new fires were being lighted to remind us that God has been present to us throughout all of salvation history and is uniquely present to us today in the Risen Christ. Couched between these two events, we have cause to believe that  not only can this iconic church be rebuilt, but more importantly, the whole of the Church, cleansed by fire, can be rebuilt as well.

-Sister Joan Sobala