We are approaching the peak period of the liturgical year when we celebrate the deepest mysteries of our faith and remain close to our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. Without having these mysteries close to our hearts, we cannot be missionaries rooted in Christ. The paschal mystery is the foundation of any authentic audacious mission. The apostles encountered the Risen Lord and contemplated his open wounds (cf. Jn 20:20.27; Lk 24:39) before they dared to go out proclaiming the Gospel.
We are slowly getting out of the nightmare of the global pandemic after two Easters celebrated with many restrictions. We have been touching the wounds of humanity both during the pandemic and many other threats to human life including war and armed combats. Though the unabated bleeding of the wounds of humanity and the planet earth is hard to understand especially when they are caused by human actions, we see them present in the wounds of the crucified Lord who is one of us in everything except sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15).
Let us contemplate the wounds of Jesus which he showed to his disciples even after his resurrection. I often wonder why the risen body still kept the wounds alive! Why didn’t God erase them from the glorified body of Christ? In fact, it was the sight of the wounds that gave confidence to the disciples to exclaim that it was the same Jesus who had been crucified by us humans and was resurrected by God the Father. The Risen Lord is seated with his wounds on the throne of eternal glory where the multitudes acclaim glory to “the lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:6,12; 13:8).
As Claretians rooted in Christ, we cannot pretend to ignore or wish away our wounds as well as those of others. We need to learn from Jesus how to embrace and transform them in love. Only when our life is touched and transformed by the encounter with the Risen Lord that our wounds can become a channel of grace without hurting ourselves and others. Wounds that keep hurting self and others are groaning for the transforming touch of the Risen Lord.
Easter announces the victory of life over death and love over violence in the person of the Lord. The apostles went forth with joy to announce the Good News of God’s love that conquers all evil. There is no place for pessimism, cynicism, and melancholy in the life of a Christian even when he is surrounded by painful realities. The Risen Lord greets us with the same words, “do not be afraid” and “peace be with you”, and then gives us the mandate of a mission. Joy is the fragrance of missionary life rooted in Christ and audacious in mission.
Wish you all the joy of Easter!
Fr. Mathew Vattamattam, CMF
Rome, April 12, 2022