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Flesh and Bones

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

One of the common issues in all of the appearance stories is that the disciples and apostles seem not to be able to recognize Jesus immediately. That is certainly the case in today's Gospel passage in which Jesus takes great pains to be sure that those gathered in the upper room realize that it is he who is among them: Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:39-40)

This is just one of two texts that emphasize the presence of the wounds of the crucifixion on the glorified body of Jesus. The fact that they are visible and that they can be probed is important for those of us who suffer from chronic illness and or disability. These marks are far more than a convenient way to I.D. Jesus. They are a testament to the presence of suffering in Jesus' life, but it also attests to the fact that suffering is no longer a part of Jesus' existence. His "impassibility," his inability to suffer after the resurrection, is one of four qualities that theologians identify from the post-Resurrection texts. Impassibility is certainly something that occupies a place of importance for all those who continue to suffer pain, both physical and mental.

One might expect that such wounds would no longer be visible after the resurrection. Their presence reminds us that Jesus is with us in our pain, in our suffering, in our frustration. Hope for our own resurrected and glorified bodies motivates us to unite our sufferings with those of Jesus for the salvation of all.

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