Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-28)
That beautiful verse of Scripture is cherished by many of us for the love Jesus shows to “doubting” Thomas, and for His beautiful promise, “Blessed are those who have not seen, but have believed.” It’s such a rich passage: the touching, the intimacy Jesus extends to His somewhat bewildered apostle. One can only imagine the awe with which the others present must have looked on.
But this passage is significant for another reason. It clearly reveals to us something perhaps unexpected: Jesus still bears His Wounds upon His Resurrected Body.
But why? Certainly, God could have removed any sign of the torments inflicted upon His Son’s precious Body. Jesus Christ possesses the most beautiful, most glorious risen Body which even God could create…for Jesus is God, and therefore perfect…even bearing Wounds.
On a retreat I attended several years ago, the priest spoke of the Wounds of Christ, and he said that Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds now shine like splendid rubies in His glorified Body. Far from detracting from the perfection of that Holy Body, they contribute greatly to its Glory. For those Wounds are the Wounds of Love. The very Body of Jesus is imprinted forever with His Love for you and for me.
Jesus is no longer on the Cross, but He would never wish to surrender His Wounds. How He must cherish them…these Sacred Marks upon His Holy flesh which visibly proclaim to all of creation the Love He bears for poor sinners.
And to chosen souls, who love Him greatly, what gift does He sometimes give? The stigmata…wounds of the crucifixion mystically experienced in the bodies of great Saints like Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio, to name a few.
The priest at my retreat went on to suggest that we too may bear wounds in Heaven. Not scars or disfigurement, but our own precious wounds of love. He explained that we should not be surprised to see that what we have suffered in our bodies for Jesus, through sickness, pain, torment, etc., will be manifested one day as great beauty. We too shall be adorned with heavenly jewels….for Jesus counts every tear and measures every pain, storing them all as treasures awaiting us in Heaven.
As I listened to Father, I thought of how Jesus so generously allows us to participate in His Saving Work by redemptive suffering. How like Him to desire that our little wounds of love, willingly suffered for Him, would tell the story of our love for all eternity.
When I allow myself to consider the possibility of Jesus without His Glorious Wounds, I cannot do so for very long. It is too sad…too heartbreaking. Jesus without His pierced hands and feet and His wounded Heart? That is impossible! His Love makes it impossible. I hope one day in Heaven to kiss those Precious Wounds, as I have so often kissed them on my little crucifixes. Like Thomas, I want to be able to recognize Jesus by His beautiful Wounds of Love and proclaim, “My Lord and my God!”