Flesh and Bones

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.

When Jesus greets his disciples in the upper room after his resurrection, he makes a point of showing them his hands and his feet and points out to them that he is "flesh and bones." There can be no mistaking that this is the Jesus who was crucified just three days before. He had been entombed. Now he was standing before them.

While part of the reason for including this detail is to testify to the fact that Jesus had in fact died and been raised up, the thing that really captures my attention is the fact that the wounds of the crucifixion are still visible. Those of us who have had multiple surgeries have the scars to prove it. Those of us who were vaccinated against small pox in a bygone era have the scar on our arm to prove it. Those of us who have been injured in a fall or an accident usually bear a reminder of that event in the form of a physical scar or slight bodily deformity. Tuberculosis treatment back in the 20th century sometimes meant collapsing the affected lung resulting in physical limitation.

At the same time, those of us who have been subject to abuse, rejection, or abandonment often also bear scars that are not all that visible. We carry them around with us as we protect ourselves from experiencing the same thing again. We are not so quick to open ourselves to others. We are wary of new relationships.

There has been much in the news lately about people who suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our veterans are coming home in unprecedented numbers having suffered traumatic brain injuries. The rate of suicide among veterans is sky rocketing, and marriages are being dissolved as these men and women continue to deal with the effects of war.

The crucified Jesus can identify with those of us who bear such scars or live with such trauma. I find it reassuring to realize that Jesus not only bore the scars of crucifixion, he also showed them to people quite readily. Many of us choose to hide them from view. Perhaps we can bear them a little more proudly when we realize that Jesus, our Savior, was wounded for our sake. His resurrection proves that we too will one day be able to live with the scars of our lives in happiness and in glory.

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«August 2021»