‘In this desolation we find Jesus, triumphant over death and shockingly alive, present to us in ways we can’t understand, much less explain. In Him we find vibrancy of life and a firm compassion that does not deny our suffering but transforms it and illuminates it. He is Life Incarnate; death could not hold Him.’ Frederica Mathewes-Green
Easter gladdens our wounds. Risen Jesus—His wounds yet visible—gazes on our gashes to illuminate and transform them. Happy Easter! Happy wound!
At my parish last night, a few good friends shared their deepest wounds and how Jesus healed them over time. Uniting His blood with theirs, He broke the grip of death and despair and raised their lives gently into a united whole. Each shared life-defying injustices that Jesus somehow turned around into sources of hope and emotional integration, even joy.
‘If we really do touch the Risen Lord,’ said the late Pope Benedict, ‘we really do become fully ourselves.’ My friends are more real today than yesterday. Wounds still visible, they make a better case for the empty tomb than any apologist.
C’mon, you say. Don’t sweeten my suffering with saccharine. There’s nothing ‘happy’ about her failed marriage, his sexuality divided by abuse, unspeakable marks left by cruel caregivers, or disorders of body and soul that tempt good Christians to withhold their gifts. These wounds breach the integrity of the just and brand them. Happy? No way!
Yes, His way. No-one is romancing wounds here, beginning with the God-Man. He doesn’t waste the fruit of His suffering. Risen Jesus invites us to partake of it fully by entering the divides most distressing to us.
With the help of sensitive prayer partners, He shows up—walking through the walls that weary saints can barely prop up anymore. Having broken the hellish domination of shame and despair, He enters as pure, radiant Life: no shadows, no diminishment. In His Light, we see and own the damage. We hurt. And His loving Presence assures us that the wound is no longer in darkness. Affliction is no longer our destiny or definition. He is.
Risen Jesus raises the wounded with Him; His wounds visible, ours too, now drinking in the warmth of His light and healing.
Let’s be honest. Easter doesn’t mean the wound is gone; it signals its transformation. When the going gets rough, and the original wounder or someone like him or her stirs things up a bit, we like Doubting Thomas need simply respond to His invitation: ‘Reach out your hand and put it into my [wounded] side. Stop doubting and believe.’ (Jn. 20:27).
‘My Lord and my God!’ responded Thomas, and so did I. As I reflected on my friends’ witness of how Jesus bound up their wounds, I was unbound, softened by mercy to open again to the Risen One. Our wounds decrease in size but still need His healing presence.
Happy wound. Not content with closing a gap, Risen Jesus is transforming a life.