Archbishop Peter A Comensoli preached the following homily at a solemn Sunday Eucharist celebrated with the Catholic Vietnamese Community at the St Vincent Liem Centre in Flemington on the second Sunday of Easter.
There is something very strange about the crucified holes in the body of the risen Jesus. The punctures in his hands, feet and side were not wounds. Neither were they healed over. In his resurrected body, Jesus had neither open wounds nor healed scars. Yet the punctures in his body were there for anyone to see and touch. Strange, indeed.
St Peter has, I think, the best explanation of this strange reality. As he said in his letter to the early Christians, by his wounds we are healed. His wounds; our healing. His input; our result. The resurrected body of Jesus shows that his sacrifice was to our benefit. The puncture holes were there for us to place our hands into, as Thomas did.
Often, Thomas is described as the doubting apostle, because of the question he asked. But we should not think this, because it was the right question to ask. To believe, Thomas needed to know that Jesus had not simply died and been resuscitated. His wounds; his healing. Rather, he needed to believe that there was a purpose for him in the death of Jesus. That Thomas wanted to be able to put his hand into the side of Jesus was, for him, evidence that Jesus had died for our good. His wounds; our healing.
The puncture marks in the risen Jesus were the doorway into the depths of Jesus. And they are the doorway into the depths of ourselves. Don’t we all have wounds of our own, both those inflicted on us, and those we have inflicted on others? Don’t we need healing, in mercy, of these wounds? We seem incapable of doing this ourselves; we need and needed someone else to do it for us. The resurrected body of Jesus is evidence that our wounds were taken on by him, that we might be healed. Do you believe?
The resurrection of Jesus is our gain, freeing us from the corrupting death of our sin. He took our wounds, marked on his body, into the heart of God. This is the great act of mercy God has given to each of us. In his death is our life, and by his wounds we are healed.
Banner image: Duccio, Reassuring Thomas (fragment), 1308–1311.