The Wounded Hands of Our Lord

A Reflection By Deacon Mike Sindall

JN 20:19-31

April 19, 2020, Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Deacon Mike Sindall’s Father

I have always been intrigued by scars, for they often tell a story: one of pride, foolishness, or possible pain and suffering. In reflecting on today’s Gospel, I think of scars as a sign of love to be pondered and held within the depths of our hearts. Thomas gazes upon the scars and wounds of Jesus to help and heal his unbelief. Jesus never embittered by his wounds shows us peace and healing through his resurrection.

I wrote this reflection two years ago while in formation for the diaconate of my own experience after my father passed. I share the words, in the hopes that they will bring comfort and consolation to those of you who are mourning or struggling.

I was deeply attached to my father when growing up. He was a man who believed in doing things for yourself, especially yard work and things around the house. When my father died, I was grief-stricken. As I stood quietly, gazing down into his coffin, I was particularly struck by my father’s hands. Even small things can reveal the essence of a person’s life.

I will never forget those magnificent weathered, old hands. They told the story of a life in the eloquent language of wrinkles and old scars. My father’s hands always bore some fresh scratch or cut, the tangle with a stubborn root or vine. Even in death, they did not disappear.

I did not know everything about my father, but I have those hands in my memory to supply evidence of the sweat he gave, the honest deeds he performed. By looking at those hands, you could read the better part of the man’s heart.

Jesus invited his apostles: Look at my hands and feet. Touch me and see for yourselves. A week later, he instructed Thomas: See my wounded hands and side. Cease doubting and believe.

No one would predict the risen body of Jesus would be whole, without blemish. Yet, those scars helped the disciples to recognize him. Scars that were caused by torture, humiliation, and crucifixion. For the apostles, those wounds showed the risen Jesus as the same person who was crucified. The wounds were proof of his love, for they were the wounds of the Good Shepherd suffered by defending his flock from the wolf.

He invited his apostles to touch those wounds, and by those wounds, they were healed of their unbelief. Jesus didn’t become embittered because of his wounds. Neither should we.

Having brought peace and healing to the apostles, we, too, are commissioned to bring good news to others. Jesus wants us to be witnesses to his resurrection.

~ Deacon Mike Sindall