Jesus has risen from the dead with a glorified body. The barriers of time and space no longer apply to Him. The Lord appears and disappears with shocking suddenness. He continually demonstrates His physical reality. The Apostles and the disciples see Him, hear Him, and eat with Him. Thomas is told to touch His wounds.
The stone rolled away from the entrance of the empty tomb directs our attention to the physical. The carefully folded burial cloths direct us to comprehend that Jesus is physically alive. He has truly risen bodily risen.
The disbelief and uncertainty evidenced by those who saw Him testify to an apparent strangeness in the appearance of the newly risen Christ. Slowly they came to recognize Him, but they still struggled with doubt.
We are accustomed to an annual celebration of Easter. However, for the first disciples of Jesus, resurrection was totally new. The concept of someone coming back to life, they knew. There were such accounts in the Old Testament. Jesus Himself had brought back to life the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus' daughter, and His friend Lazarus. But none of them continued their lives with a glorified body. Although the risen Jesus is the same Jesus Who died on Calvary, His physical reality is now different from before. The body of the risen Lord is indeed His physical body, but it now moves about according to the manner of a glorified body. This is a new reality and it is a new hope: each of us will have a glorified body also at the resurrection of the dead if we persevere and are faithful. But the newness of it made it difficult for the disciples to grasp what had happened to Jesus.
Over and over again the Gospels stress that something extraordinary has occurred. The Lord is tangible, but He has been transformed. His life is different from what it once was. Because His glorified body transcends the limitations of time and space, He can pass through the closed door of the Upper Room, and appear and disappear as He desires. At times His disciples cannot recognize Him precisely because their physical reality moves within time and space, and the Lord's physical reality is no longer subject to time and space, although He is present with them in time and space.
His crucified body has been transformed, glorified. But why, then we may wonder, would Jesus rise from the dead with wounds? What lesson is He teaching us by keeping His wounds intact?
We can answer this question by turning to our own wounds. What are our wounds? First, we all experience the large wound caused by original sin. Although we are baptized and original sin has been cleansed from our soul, our human nature has been wounded. Our sinful condition manifests itself in different ways and we struggle with sensuality and pride.
And then there are the other smaller wounds. We have wounds caused by sickness and the wounds that are caused by problems, adversities, challenges and the disappointments of life.
All of us are wounded. Even Jesus is wounded. By retaining the wounds of His Passion, the glorified Jesus is showing us that we can find hope and strength by taking our wounds and uniting them to His wounds. His five wounds are an eternal reminder that when our wounds are united to His wounds we will find true peace.
Many times we are surprised and even discouraged that our commitment to follow the Risen Lord consists in a continual personal struggle with our predominant faults. We become dismayed when manifestations of our predominant faults constantly show themselves in our daily activities.
Most of us have been profoundly affected by dysfunctional families, a dysfunctional society, and even a dysfunctional Church. Perhaps some of our predominant faults have been caused by these dysfunctions or at least they provide the ammunition that pushes our buttons, especially when we experience anger and discouragement. However, when we honestly acknowledge our weaknesses and sinful tendencies, and take responsibility for all of our actions, our struggles can be the very agents that cause us to receive the graces that we need to overcome our weaknesses and sins. Our wounds become the source by which personal transformation takes place.
Did you ever stop to think what your glorified body will look like? The only glorified body that we know is the glorified body of our Lord, Jesus Christ. His glorified body still carries the five wounds of Calvary.
Perhaps our glorified bodies will bear our own personal wounds. Maybe the wounds caused by the death of a loved one, a family tragedy, a life-long struggle with sin, or a long battle with a chronic illness will be seen as personal trophies because they have been the very agents that caused us to gain eternal salvation, In Wounds that Heal, Keith A. Fournier supposed:
Maybe when the last trumpet sounds, millions upon millions of glorified bodies will come forth from their tombs adorned with glorified wounds wounds that, when joined with the five wounds of the Son of God, are seen as the very agents that made possible their owner’s earthly transformation. Whatever our predominant faults or “buttons” may be, some of them may be then worn with gratitude because they broke us of the greatest impediment to contentment, false pride.” (p. 102)
So my dear friends, leave aside your sadness and discouragement. The Lord has truly risen, wounds and all.
© Copyright 2006 Catholic Exchange
Father James Farfaglia is Pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Originally from Ridgefield, Connecticut, Father has founded and developed apostolates for the Catholic Church in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United States. He may be reached by e-mail at Icthus@GoCCN.org.