2nd Sunday of Easter

This whole Gospel seems like the mass to me.  There is the homily, although it comes at the end.  There is the offering of the body of Christ and the memorial of his death in the midst of his resurrection.  And of course there are all those, “Peace be with yous.”  To which ten apostles probably said, “And with your Spirit” and one said, “And also with you, oops.”  As they gathered so we gather, as they hoped against hope so do we.  As they are given the Holy Spirit so have we.  The scene illustrates the point of mass.  Jesus sends out the disciples as his Father sent him.  The very word mass means to be sent on mission.  And he does not leave them orphaned for he endows the Holy Spirit upon them.   What happened in that room has been happening for 2000 years and is happening now.

And if we need a clue as to what we are being sent for, I suggest that it is no accident that he says three times “Peace be with you.”  We are being sent to announce peace and good news.  And how are we to accomplish that.  Jesus teaches us in the story of Thomas.

After the other disciples had seen Jesus, they tell Thomas who famously doubts it.  Jesus, knowing this and everything else now, does not kick him out of the group for not believing. He does not reproach him immediately.  He offers Thomas exactly what he has asked for.  Put your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and put it into my side and do be unbelieving but believe.” 

I suggest that if you want to see the Risen Christ, we must touch his wounds, enter into his vulnerability.  If we want to find Christ right now, we must find where he is wounded.  This week, Sr. Betsy and I along with fourteen of our young people spent the week rehabilitating an abandoned house in our own parish on Van Vranken Avenue.  We were in the midst of the wounded Christ, working feverishly so that this family would not suffer the pain of homelessness.  We felt the power of the Risen Christ at the Salvation Army where we knew that Christ was alive in our service.  When ten of us went to Mexico we entered into the wounded Christ.  We saw strangers who became our friends and stole our hearts, but we could not turn away from the stunted growth of the malnourished children or the constant battle and scrambling for survival.  Nor could we also miss the beauty of Christ shining in the hearts of our new friends. 

If we are to be a people who seeks Jesus out we must find him in our wounded veterans, damaged physically, emotionally and spiritually in these wars.  We will find Christ in every place where the scourge of war takes its inevitable and unfathomable toll.  In every place that needs healing, the Body of Christ lays open to us to place our hands in the side and press our fingers in its hand.

If you want to find the Risen Christ, look for where he is wounded.  Forgive the unforgiven person in your life; share your fear and let the light of the Son dispel it; console the sorrowing and see Christ’s Spirit alive in the gift of tears.  Fight the unjust system, enter into their world and announce the only thing they have been yearning to hear if they only knew it, Peace be with you.”

It is clear that Jesus has a glorified body that somehow works through doors.  We have probably all pictured the future state of our glorified bodies.  I know I have and this ain’t it.  We imagine ourselves free from flaws.  It has always puzzled me that Jesus in his glorified body is still wounded.   There was still a chance to enter into him.  There is still a unique charism to find him in our wounded brothers and sisters for whatever we have done to one of our least, we do it for Jesus.

And maybe that is the root of divine mercy.  We think of divine mercy that has protected us from this suffering or that.  Maybe the gift of divine mercy is that there is a wound so that you can enter into my life and a wound so that I can enter into yours.  We can find a place in one another to announce the good news.  To finally say, “Peace be with you.”