1126: the Spirit finds us in our tomb, recognizes us by our wounds and raises us up.
Day 1126: Sunday, April 16, 2023
the Spirit finds us in our tomb, recognizes us by our wounds and raises us up.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Upcoming Retreat next Saturday:
Our next community meeting/retreat day is Saturday, April 22 at Enid's home from 9:30-4:00. We have planned what we think will be a good day and hope as many of you as possible will come. Our format is very much like the first day we had, including concentric circles, small groups and large groups. We will be taking a close look at the topics that surfaced in our first meeting with plenty of time for everyone to share and have input. One difference is that we will conclude with a short Eucharistic celebration (not a full liturgy).
Logistics: Please RSVP to Patti England so we have a sense of numbers. (firstname.lastname@example.org - or - 707-217-8481)
Please bring your own brown bag lunch and drink. We will provide coffee/tea and morning and lunch treats.
Daily Reflection: from our dear friend Jim Fredericks
The Good News from John 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw Jesus who said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
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.”
The body of the Risen Christ has been raised up and glorified. Yet this glorified body still bears the wounds inflicted on the cross. In fact, the Risen Christ invites Thomas to place his fingers into the wounds of his rabbi’s crucified hands.
One day, our bodies will be glorified too. After lying in the grave, our bodies will be raised up into the New Life that appeared to the disciples in the form of Christ’s glorified body.
And our glorified bodies, like Christ’s body, will be wounded. All the wounds that mark our bodies will rise with us into the New Life of the Resurrection.
There is a very good reason for this. The wounds we have suffered during our sojourn through this world mark us as the persons we have become. And this is of capital importance: the Holy Spirit recognizes us by our wounds and then claims us for Christ.
Christ loves all wounded things.
If we could only learn this, we would be happier, and the world would be a safer place for us all. I don’t pretend that this is easy to understand. So, let me tell you a story in the hope of putting some flesh and blood on this teaching.
Decades ago, I used to speak with a man after mass. Steve introduced himself to me in a memorable way… Hi Father. My name is Steve and I’m a drunk.
Happily, Steve had been in recovery from alcoholism for about twenty-five years when we first spoke. In fact, Steve was serene. God had touched his heart with the grace he needed to stop drinking.
Alcohol had wounded Steve. He was divorced and his children were not speaking to him.
One day, after mass, Steve told me something important about himself but difficult to understand. Father, every evening, I offer a prayer to God, thanking God for making me an alcoholic. This is a shocking statement, but Steve went on...
Father, I thank God for making me an alcoholic because alcoholism is how God found me. Finally, Steve said,
I know that this is difficult to understand, but what I am saying is true. It’s my truth.
The Church thinks this is true as well. In fact, Steve is showing us the Pascal Mystery itself: the Spirit finds us in our tomb, recognizes us by our wounds and raises us up.
Steve has died, marked with the sign of faith. In the New Life, promised us in our Baptism, I have no doubt that Steve’s glorified body bears the wounds that has made him the beloved creature he is in the sight of God. Alcohol wounded Steve. And yet the wretchedness of alcoholism is how God led Steve to embrace his cross and to find the grace that really does surpass all understanding.
If Steve were still with us in the world, he would tell you without a moment’s hesitation: alcoholism was his “happy fault” – his felix culpa. He would tell you that, in his case, alcoholism is what “brought us so great a Redeemer,” (as we sing in the Exultet).
Christ had to be crucified. We had to nail the Savior to a cross. I cannot explain why. No one can. But this is what God willed for his beloved Son that he might bring our banishment to an end. Neither can I explain why Steve suffered the peculiar wounds that mark the lives of alcoholics. But this is what God willed for my friend, Steve. And Steve accepted God’s will for him with Easter Faith.
Not all of us are alcoholics, but we have all been given a cross. We are all wounded by our own sins and the sins of others. And we are all being raised up out of our tombs by the steadfast love of our faithful God.
And, like the Risen Christ, our glorified bodies will also bear the wounds that we have suffered. I cannot explain why, but this is the incomprehensible will of God.
O happy fault!
O necessary sin of Adam!
Which brought us so great a Redeemer.