Second Sunday of Easter – Year B

Young Rich OSA_Homily.jpg

Richard Young, O.S.A.
Providence Catholic High School
New Lennox, Illinois

Acts 4: 32-35
Ps 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24
1 Jn 5: 1-6
Jn 20: 19-31

I have to be honest, I wasn’t entirely successful in my Lenten promises. I was hoping to enter Easter with a renewed sense of accomplishment. However, because of my missteps, and good intentions gone awry, I was confronted by what I could not do. I was humbled. I felt defeated and even somewhat ashamed, and I realized that left to my own devices, I am bound to fail. It wasn’t a great feeling, but then I remembered a line from one of my favorite artists. In his song, Anthem, Leonard Cohen sings: There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.

This line makes sense to me as I reflect on the Scriptures this week, and the Paschal Season that we are participating in right now. I am taken by the fact that it was when the Risen Christ showed his wounds to the disciples, that when they “saw the Lord,” it was then they rejoiced. And the “Lord” they saw was wounded. The word “Peace” was made true in the showing of the wounds. No other words were spoken to cause that rejoicing. The darkness of their fear was pierced through by the showing of the wounds, and a simple Shalom. There were no angry words, no accusations…only “peace.” Jesus mirrors to the gathered disciples their own woundedness, and in the wounds, they find healing.

I do not like to show my weaknesses, my imperfections, my wounds. And when I do, it is usually in order to justify my own victimhood. I would actually prefer to hide them in some way…usually in an air of aloofness, a hard inflexibility, or possibly in a dark room! At times, I like even less when my brothers in community or co-workers or even the Church reveals weakness, imperfection and woundedness. Even if I can’t live up to my impossible expectations, why can’t you?! But really, I have to ask myself, “Why am I afraid of my–of our–woundedness? Why am I embarrassed by my–by our–imperfections?”

And then there’s Thomas. He brashly says his belief in the Risen Lord will depend on probing his wounds. Pretty brazen for one who probably wanted to disappear from the scene! When Thomas encounters the Risen Lord, Jesus invites him to do what he said he wanted to do. It appears that the invitation was all that was needed. How often do we invite others into our woundedness…on purpose?! How do we honor the woundedness of another?

Permeating this whole Gospel is the spirit of reconciliation, the sharing of Shalom through the command to forgive. Yes, I know there was the other part of not forgiving, but how could they not forgive others after they have been forgiven so abundantly?! How can we not forgive because of that same forgiveness offered to us?

How do we share that forgiveness? How do we become reconciliation and healing? I think that is where our reading from the Acts of the Apostles challenges me the most. We have a beautiful, almost idyllic recounting of the early Christian community – the community of believers. They were said to be “of one heart and mind.” That one heart and mind is that of the Risen Christ. But not all is perfect. Anyone who reads the Acts knows that the community of believers was a mixed bag. For as many as were laying the proceeds at the feet of the disciples, there were those who were not. For as surely as there was growth, there was persecution. For as one in the Spirit that this community was, there were growing pains and tensions with the way the Spirit was growing the Body.

That tension is important. I realize that as I lay what I have to offer (who I am) at the feet of the community of believers, I lay myself at the feet of Christ. I offer my gifts and my woundedness. I am not perfect and I do not find perfection in this, only healing. My wounds are revealed for what they are – a sharing in the One who “came through water and in blood.” But as part of that community of believers, I am challenged to accept the offering of my brothers and sisters as well – in their gifts and in their wounds.

In our Easter celebration, Christ Wounded is Christ Risen. In being one in heart and mind, we share that dynamic tension; we share the Paschal Mystery of Christ; we share in the mission of peace, reconciliation and healing; we become light in the darkness.

I accept that we are all…as individuals and as a community of believers…weak, imperfect, wounded. And when I begin to feel ashamed or angry or frustrated at myself or my community or the Church, I remember…there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.