April 3rd – Life-giving wounds

Scripture Reflection . . .

There’s a story about Saint Teresa of Ávila in which the devil tries to fool her by appearing disguised as the risen Christ. She is at first taken aback, then she laughs at the devil and sends him on his way. As he slinks off, he asks, “But how did you know it wasn’t him?” She replies, “You had no wounds.” (From Finding God E-newsletter, Jesuits, November/December 2015 volume 12 Issue 2).

The Scripture Readings for this Second Sunday of Easter reminded me of this story of St. Teresa that I had heard several years ago and have never forgotten.

Today’s Gospel from John 20: 19 -31 recounts the re-appearance of Jesus to the disciples who are locked in a room; “Jesus said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.” The passage continues with Thomas’ movement from doubt to belief as he sees and touches the wounds of Christ.

Although Jesus rose from the dead, in perhaps a new appearance – for some reason none of his closest followers recognized him – the wounds in his hands, feet and side remained.  Have you ever wondered about this?

We may be tempted to make these wounds disappear or go away, however, Jesus reveals to us that although we carry wounds from life’s experiences, if we accept and even embrace them, we can experience the path to mercy and forgiveness; we can rise to new life.    We don’t need to get stuck in the past hurts, suffering and pain; the underlying causes of our anger, guilt, shame . . . Jesus offers another way:  These very same struggles can bring us to a greater depth, greater compassion, greater love.

The resurrected Jesus bears the wounds of his humanity.  God, in Jesus, came to dwell among us; God remains forever connected to our human experience.  Could it be that our wounds connect us to God’s divinity?

dandelion puff

In Our Lives as Sisters of The Holy Redeemer . . .

Since the previous Blog Post, we have journeyed through the last days of Lent into Holy Week, we celebrated Easter, and have now come to the end of the Octave of Easter. There have been sorrows and joys along with ordinary moments.  We have faced our own limitations and wounds as we meditated on the Passion and death of Jesus.  We rejoiced in the love and mercy of God in the Resurrection.  We still carry our wounds, yet we can rejoice because of this experience of love that gives new life.

We celebrated Sr. Ellen who was honored for her ministry to women and children experiencing homelessness at one of our ministries sites.  Her deep love for them flows from her own life experiences.

sr. Ellen

We welcomed back the 2nd Grade Students as they began planting seeds in the greenhouse – a wonderful experience of new life!

school greenhouse planting

school pea planting

At the beginning of Holy Week we planted the first seeds in the community garden.  From the barrenness of winter and the decomposition of last season’s crops new life is nourished.

pea planting

We also welcomed new baby chicks to sustain our existing flock of egg-laying chickens.

baby chick

We rejoiced in the Resurrection during our Easter Vigil Liturgy and Easter Sunday prayer service and dinner.  Around the altar and table gathered with guests we give thanks for God’s enduring love and mercy.

Easter Chapel

Just yesterday, we joined the many people with whom we minister to host our annual fundraiser, Nite at the Races, for our Food Cupboard ministry.  Volunteers gave so much time and energy to make it a fun and successful event.  Though tired by the end, these “wounds” were transformed into the joy that comes through sharing gifts and participating in community.

nite at races

We also knew the sorrow of losing Nellie Klemmer, a long time friend, Redeemer Associate, and volunteer with the Congregation – over 50 years!  We and her family are comforted in knowing that she now experiences the freedom and joy of eternal life.  This is the promise of Easter!

In Your Life . . .

As you continue these days of Easter, rejoicing in the love and mercy of God as revealed in Jesus, perhaps you will feel invited to reflect on Jesus’ wounds.  This may move you to notice your own wounds.  How have these wounds actually been a source of transformation to a deeper and more compassionate life?  Are there any wounds still hurting and holding you in the past that are calling out for healing?

Remember that there is no life without wounds – or it isn’t real life.

Easter Blessings from all of us, your Sisters in Christ, Our Risen Wounded Redeemer!