Readings (Year C):
Psalm 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Reflection: We are all the walking wounded
When have you chosen to reveal your wounds?
For me, it was after a medical emergency and hospitalization last November. In the following months, as I waited to see specialists and have tests done, I couldn’t do vigorous exercise, swim, or drink alcohol—but most challenging: I couldn’t drive a car. In winter in Minnesota, walking or biking isn’t feasible. I could either spend hundreds of dollars on Uber or Lyft getting to work, medical appointments, and necessary errands, or reveal my limitations and ask for help in a community where I am still a newcomer. Like many in ministry, I am more comfortable giving than receiving, but grudgingly, I chose to show my wounds, tell my story, and ask for the support I needed. I swallowed my pride and requested rides from friends, colleagues, and parishioners.
In those weeks of being a passenger and sitting in so many front seats, I heard the stories of those who drove me. Stories of their own hospitalizations, cancer treatments, their navigation of caring for aging parents, their own losses. Sharing my story, acknowledging my limitations, and asking others to do for me what I couldn’t do for myself led to developing authentic relationships. Acquaintances became friends. I realized anew we are all walking wounded in one way or another. When we show our wounds, trust is built. Truth is spoken. Connection is developed.
There is a natural human impulse to hide our wounds – they make us seem weak, needy, or even unlovable. We desire to present the best of ourselves, hide our imperfections and pain. But Jesus models the opposite in today’s Gospel. We witness how the post-resurrection Jesus shares our human experience of being the walking wounded – even in the triumph of the resurrection. Unashamed and offering peace, he reveals himself, allowing his wounds to be seen and touched and known.
We celebrate God’s embodiment at Christmas, in awe of the Word made flesh, God’s vulnerability as a tiny baby. And at Easter too we celebrate this body that endured immense suffering, rose from the grave, bearing wounds. Is it possible that Jesus – fully God, the Second Person of the Trinity – could have resurrected without visible wounds? Of course! We hear in today’s Gospel that he entered a locked door. Of course, he could have moved through His resurrected life with a flawless body, bearing no mark of Good Friday’s torture and trauma. Jesus had a choice: and he chose to walk among us in his resurrected life marked with wounds.
What if this gospel shows how to move through the world wounded and real and unashamed? After all, Jesus revealing his wounds leads to Thomas’ famous proclamation of faith: “My Lord and my God.” The church begins with this revealing of wounds and the transformation and conversion that flow from that divine act of vulnerability.
We are all walking wounded. Today’s Gospel invites us to consider the wounds we live with and ask for courage and vulnerability, so those wounds draw us into deeper connection with one another and a more authentic proclamation of truth.