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“Look for the Scars” by Jan Davis, ObOSB

Jan Davis' Reflection Graphic April 2024Have you ever been in a room full of people and thought you recognized an old friend across the room? But something was different – a different hair style – a full beard shaved off? You wanted to get closer to verify your hunch?

Something was very different about the resurrected Christ, there amid the disciples who gathered shortly after Jesus’s crucifixion. Firstly, Christ came among them although the doors were locked. He brought them comfort and solace, “Peace be to you,” although they were deathly afraid of violence, the likes of which they had seen their friend Jesus endure. Christ came close enough to breathe on the disciples, breathing the Divine Spirit upon them.

Christ came again to that room of disciples, to bring peace to the previously absent Thomas. He called Thomas to come close enough to touch him, to see and touch his scars. Thomas saw and believed.

Stories quickly spread. Two disciples told of when they were walking along and, although Christ joined them on the road, still, they didn’t recognize him until they sat down and had lunch with him. Did they notice scars on his hands when he broke bread with them? Again, he came into their midst, bringing peace to their troubled hearts. He invited them to “touch me and see,” to come close enough to see the scars in his hands and feet.

These post-Resurrection stories are typical of Jesus’s modus operandi. Jesus endearingly invited strangers and friends into deep relationship with him. He frequently asked, “What do you want?” He fed, he healed, he brought sight and hearing, he relaxed crippling, he drove out spirits, and if folk still didn’t believe, he told stories.

Jesus told a story about himself as a good shepherd, who lifts and carries his lambs close to his heart to safety. Using another metaphor, he calls himself “the true vine” describing the intimate relationship between the vine and the branches. “Remain IN me, as I remain IN you. If you remain IN me and my words remain IN you …, by this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

During the April Sunday liturgies, we will hear these stories; again, these invitations to come close to Christ. We are invited to come as we are, scars and all. The closer we get the more obvious the scars become and more obvious the peace becomes. We might not recognize this initially, but even when we don’t, we just might feel the gentle wind of the Divine Spirit breathing upon us.

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