Healing Our Woundedness

For Sunday, April 3, 2016, 2nd Sunday of Easter

A hand reaching out to help another.

Wounds! Wounds! Wounds! It seems that everywhere we look in our world today there are wounds! Last week’s horrendous happenings in Brussels brought back fresh memories of the tragedy in Paris not so long ago. That triggers the horrors of Boston and the more than three thousand lives that were lost September 11, 2001. These catastrophes—the most recent in America—our great wounds!

Simultaneously with the tragic events in Brussels, the media was covering the conviction of the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, by a United Nations tribunal at The Hague. The atrocities he directed boggle the mind. Again, there are echoes. This time it’s the incomprehensible horror of the WWII Holocaust. At the same time, rumbling in the background of all this, is the multitude of Syrian refugees seeking asylum! Ethnic cleansing has not gone the way of past barbarian civilizations. It is still with us. Our world of 2016 rends the heavens with cries and groans from so many wounds.

Just last week we remembered the atrocity of Calvary. The heavens themselves were torn asunder at the wounds inflicted on the very Savior of our race. Did those wounds cry out for vengeance? Not really! Jesus brought a new way. Even as he was dying, he made a declaration of forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Mercy flowed like a balm from the wounds of Jesus. Forgiveness was the wellspring of that mercy. Jesus’ wounds bled mercy!

Though today’s Gospel seems like two separate incidents, they are actually related. Jesus enters each event through locked doors. The disciples were terrified of the Jews. When we are afraid and when we are wounded, doors are locked… doors to our hearts and minds. We especially lock the doors leading to our woundedness. They are not available for viewing or touching. Jesus comes to us, bringing peace. In the case of the disciples, his peaceful message had to be repeated. When we are afraid or wounded, we too need extra assurance. We need to hear Jesus’ words… and hear them again and again.

Jesus’ next action is so important. He shows them his wounds. His wounds did not disappear when he rose from the dead. Jesus carries his wounds into his new life. Jesus knows and understands the pain of wounds. There must be something we need to learn about carrying wounds into resurrected life. Until very recently in our American history, we kept our wounds behind locked doors. The maimed, the handicapped, the mentally challenged, and even pregnant women stayed in the privacy of their homes. Thank goodness that has changed. But even now, inner woundedness is still very private. The traditional British “stiff-upper lip” is still practiced in times of grief, depression, and trouble. We don’t “air” our troubles. We are expected to get through and over the grief of divorce and death, loss and failure quickly.

Jesus showed his wounds. He didn’t whine over them or exaggerate them or blame the disciples. He just showed them. He wasn’t looking for pity, just showing the truth. So many of us need to unlock the doors of our woundedness so that compassionate, willing people can help. One reporter on CBS News said that “for every injured person” in Brussels, “there was a hero.” By allowing others to see our wounds, they can show compassion, and care. They help us to carry our burdens. Even the “shadow” of their care can help heal.

This is Divine Mercy Sunday. We’re hearing so much about mercy this year. Can we open ourselves to that mercy? It is related to woundedness. Mercy flows like a healing balm but only as we open the locked doors of our inner selves and let others gaze upon our wounds. Some of us have locked those doors so tightly that we don’t even recognize and admit that we are wounded. We may be too afraid to look ourselves.

This Divine Mercy Sunday offers us the opportunity to have mercy on ourselves. The risen Jesus stands in front of us. He gives us the grace of his peace. He gives it again and shows his wounds. Now he asks us to open our doors to let his peace in. He reaches out his wounded hands and touches our wounds. His peace and merciful love flow into the rawness of our wounds. His mercy heals. Alleluia!

As we are healed, we hold up our wounded world to the healing hands of Jesus. We lift up the wounded of Brussels, of Paris, of Syria and Serbia, of Boston and New York. We lift up those terribly wounded in the past and those who will be wounded tomorrow. God’s loving mercy flows continually from the wounded heart of Jesus in rays of warm, healing love. Alleluia!

Patricia DeGroot, OblSB

PRAYER

Eternal God,
in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible,
look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us,
that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent,
but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will,
which is Love and Mercy itself.

—From the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

NOTICES

EASTER URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
Pope Francis delivered the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday, following Mass in St. Peter’s Square. Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in the Square for the occasion, Pope Francis especially remembered the suffering peoples of Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. To view the full text and video of the Urbi et Orbi message, visit http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-easter-urbi-et-orbi-a-message-of-hope.

PROVISIONAL SCHEDULE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY
A draft of the schedule for Pope Francis’ trip to Poland from July 27 to 31 for the 31st World Youth Day was presented in Krakow on Saturday. The provisional schedule may be viewed at http://www.news.va/en/news/wyd-krakow-2016-draft-schedule-released.

MOTHER TERESA CANONIZATION DATE ANNOUNCED
The Holy Father announced the upcoming canonization of five new saints, including Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata (née Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), whose work among the “poorest of the poor” won her worldwide acclaim. Hundreds of Missionaries of Charity, members of the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, are expected to be in Rome for her canonization, set for September 4, 2016.

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