Forgiveness

Many of the Resurrection appearances of Jesus include a showing of the wounds in his body. I used to think that they were intended to elicit or confirm faith. A prime example would be the showing to Thomas, but reading today’s gospel, Luke 24. 35–48, made me think again. Could it be that these showings have another purpose, one that the disciples found even more necessary — an assurance of forgiveness?

You’ll notice that Jesus never finds it necessary to show the women his wounds. As far as we can tell from the gospel narratives, they never abandoned Jesus and were never afraid when they met him again after the Resurrection. When Mary Magdalene met him in the garden she wept, but for her supposed loss rather than consciousness of any sin or betrayal. The men do not get off so lightly, especially when they are gathered together in a group. There is consternation when Jesus appears among them, doubt, disbelief, a whole gamut of emotions, including fear. Jesus reassures them and shows them his wounds. This showing not only demonstrates who he is but also what he has done: ‘God in Christ has reconciled the world to himself’.

Just in case any of my female readers is quietly congratulating herself, I had better point out that we are all among the male disciples now. We are all in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness which come to us through Christ our Lord. Those wounds on his body are there for all eternity as a sign of his love and forgiveness. We are each one of us ‘graven on the palm of his hand’.

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5 thoughts on “Forgiveness”

  1. At the Easter Vigil, Fr. Mariusz gave a very good homily (and short, too!) on how the women at the tomb Easter morning were filled with the “fear of God”, and how that fear ( the sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread, above all things, to offend Him.) was a wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Very different from many of the Easter homilies we have heard. Much thought was provoked.

  2. Looking at this article a second time, brings out the fact that women are far more intuitive at details, perception, and generally “reading people”. They would have had no need to be shown the wounds, they simply would have known. Sadly, men’s minds are all to often clouded (the power to cloud mens’s minds – the Shadow knows!) by their maleness. And a great pity that can be.

    • Yes Harold. I had thought along the same lines – women intuitive therefore no need to show wounds.
      Bu then I moved on. The male disciples were charged with the task of preaching, teaching, spreading the word. Perhaps they had to see the woulds to do this task well; to have witness statements and evidence for reluctant converts.

      What puzzles me and arises every year when we read about the Risen Christ is why Mary Magdalene mistook Him for the gardener. Why a ‘gardener’? Although there are many gardens in the Bible, this is the only mention of any gardener. Is it simply a convenient translation of an ambiguous word in the original. Or does it point to qualities of the risen lord. Gardeners have a way of standing and staring at plants and landscapes, of examining leaves and buds, a knowledgeable way of moving around a green environment. What was the quality that Mary intuitively picked up on?

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