Second Sunday of Easter • Year C

John F. DelloRusso, O.S.A.
Church of St. Augustine

Acts 5:12-16
Ps 118:2-4, 13-15, 22-24
Rev 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
Jn 20:19-31

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

A few weeks ago, a good friend sent me via Facebook these words of a 13th century Persian philosopher/theologian popularly known as Rumi. The quote intrigued me and got me thinking especially about the two contradictory images – “wound” and “light.”

In my mind a “wound” is a hurt, an injury, an assault of the body. A wound is painful. “Light” is healing. Light illumines darkness. And since we generally bandage wounds to prevent infection and promote healing, I wondered how does the light enter. After a brief internet search, I learned that there are two different opinions about caring for wounds. One leaves the wound uncovered so that it will stay dry and heal; the other covers the wound so it will heal.

Today, the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as Divine Mercy Sunday, the Gospel recounts two appearances of the risen Lord to the apostles.

The first “on the evening of the first day of the week.” The disciples are gathered in a locked room. Jesus comes and stands in their midst. “Peace be with you” is his message and he shows them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoice and he breathes on them imparting the gift of the Spirit, and with that the mission: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

For some reason Thomas is not with them and when the disciples tell him that they have seen the Lord he is not convinced and has since been dubbed the with the unfortunate nickname “Doubting Thomas.” Thomas wants to see for himself. He wants proof. He wants to put his fingers into the nail marks and his had in the Lord’s side which had been pierced by the soldier’s lance.

Now, a week later Jesus appears again and Thomas is with the disciples. Jesus takes Thomas at his word. “Put your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving but believe.” And Thomas professes his faith.

The story of Thomas got me thinking. Why was it so important for Thomas not only to see the wounds but to physically touch the wounds? The resurrected body of Jesus, though glorious and awesome still bears the wounds inflicted on him on the cross. They haven’t been covered up to mask the suffering, the pain, the hurt he experienced. A wound is also there in Thomas’ life. In his heart he feels the hurt of his friend’s suffering and death. He also feels the hurt of his guilt for having abandoned Jesus is his time of need. These wounds still have to be healed. Touching the wounds on Christ’s resurrected body allows the light of the resurrection to enter his own wounds and thus begin the healing which will lead to redemption.

In reality “Doubting Thomas” is sensitive and caring and ready to continue the healing/ redeeming mission of Jesus which is so much needed in the lives of so many people. We read in Acts that the people would bring their sick and lay the stretchers on the street with the hope that the shadow of the apostle Peter would bring healing, and they were all cured.

The light of Christ burns here in our midst in the Paschal Candle. As we celebrate Easter this year – and really every year – there are so many people who are hurting, including ourselves at times, wounded by the violence, wounded by loss or disappointment in their lives, wounded by the disrespect they may experience from the treatment of others. We are called to treat them with love and care as Jesus did. We need to see and be willing to hear their stories and, like Thomas, touch their wounds, so that the light of Christ can enter and bring healing.