Once again this weekend, we encounter the disciples after Easter attempting to make sense of the resurrection. As they gather to discuss reports of Jesus’ appearances, he comes among them peacefully only to have them react with fright. “Why are you troubled?” he asks them. “Why do questions arise in your hearts?” Jesus asks the same questions to us when we struggle to make sense of events in our world. We try to come up with logical explanations for the sin and suffering we witness, and we make honest attempts to articulate for others and for ourselves the importance of a life of faith. Still, doubt and questioning enter our experience just as they did that of Jesus’ disciples. To ease their troubled minds, Jesus offers his pierced hands and feet as evidence of his true presence among them. In one of her Catholic Worker columns, Dorothy Day reflects on Christ’s wounds and how our faith receives affirmation when our eyes are open to these wounds around us. “How do we know we believe? How do we know we indeed have faith?” she writes. Following up, Day answers her own question: Our faith is firm because “we have seen his hands and his feet in the poor around us,” for Christ has “shown himself to us in them.” Our love for Christ and trust in him increase as we love the poor and reach out to our neighbors, seeing the living Jesus in each sister and brother.
While [the disciples] were still speaking about this, [Jesus] stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? 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…. He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
the Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
our Christ has brought us over, with hymns of victory.
Now let the heav’ns be joyful, let earth the song begin,
the whole world sing of triumph, the vict’ry over sin.
Let all things seen and unseen their notes together blend,
for Christ the Lord is risen, our joy that has no end.