Last week’s in John’s Gospel we heard the risen Jesus invite Thomas to look at his hands, because Thomas had said that he would not believe that the Lord had risen from the dead unless he could see the holes the nails had made in them. In the account of Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in today’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus again shows them his hands and feet as evidence that it is truly he. The marks of the nails of the crucifixion are still with the risen Jesus. Perhaps we might have expected a resurrected body, (as suggested by the dazzling light of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain) to be pure and spotless. However it seems clear from the Gospels that the Lord’s risen body included the scars from his suffering on the cross. The scars are not a defect but a glory. When we suffer on earth, the scars of Jesus tell us that he was fully human and that he knows about our pain and suffering. Suffering and pain are integral to the human condition. Our physical scars may remind us of the original cause though the wound is healed; other wounds, for example bereavement, are invisible but still cause great pain. God cherishes and loves us like the parent who when we fell over as children asked to see our bruise or bump, gave it a loving touch, us a big hug and sent us off reassured and no longer upset. Some wounds take longer to heal, some we have to live with – just as the scars remained on Jesus’ risen body – but he is always there to support and to love us.
“On the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away; they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us”. (Pope Francis)