by my hands and my feet that it is I myself. Touch me and see for yourselves; a
ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.' And as he said this he showed them his hands and his feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, as they were dumbfounded; so he said to them, 'Have you anything here to eat?'”
Jesus showing his wounds was a sign to his disciples that it was really him, the One who was nailed to a cross for the redemption of all human beings. They were the spoils of his victory over the evil one: the devil. Because Jesus was not crucified because He had committed a real crime, but because he was convicted of loving one and all without discrimination and because of His for God his Father. This love motivated him to call a spade a spade and point out the shortcomings of the Pharisees and the Elders who were leading the people towards a religion based not on love of God and neighbor but on unreasonable laws and on being terrified of God. Because of this the people could not see God as their loving Father but God as a terrible and unforgiving Judge.
“… He showed them his hands and his feet…” He showed them his wounded Body, the same Body that we adore in the Holy Eucharist. He showed them the indelible signs of His love for the human being. And his disciples recognized Him.
Are we recognizing Jesus among us? Are we seeing the indelible signs of His love?
As Pope Francis, when meeting with people with special needs in Assisi, speaking off the cuff, he said: “On the altar we adore the Body (lit.: flesh) of Jesus, in them we find the wounds of Jesus. Jesus hidden in the Eucharist is Jesus hidden in these wounds.” These are the indelible signs of His love among us.
If we really want to recognize Jesus in our neighbor we need to recognize him everywhere He manifests or even, so to speak, hides Himself. We can easily recognize Him in people who are our loved ones, our friends, sometimes even our enemies, though not always that easy. But do we really recognize him in the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, the marginalized people, the homeless, and the list goes on.
Jesus tells us: “When you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” (Luke 14:13) And Pope Francis tells us: “These (people) need to be listened to by whoever calls himself (herself) a Christian. The Christian adores Jesus. The Christians searches Jesus. The Christian knows how to recognize the wounds of Jesus. And today, all of us, here, need to say: ‘These wounds need to be listened to!’”
How are we listening to these wounds? How are we showing our love to these wounds? We need to stop and in God’s light examine our attitude towards these people in whom Jesus’ wounds present themselves to us.
In Matthew’s Gospel, when Jesus speaks about the Last Judgment, and is welcoming into His Kingdom those who had helped those who were hungry and thirsty, strangers, naked, sick and prisoners, he answers them: "In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:40)
Let me finish my feed by the last words of Pope Francis: “But there is something else that gives us hope. Jesus is present in the Eucharist, it is the Body of Christ; Jesus is present among us, it is the Body of Christ: they are the wounds of Christ in these persons.
“But this is interesting: Jesus, when He was risen, He was very beautiful. In his body there were no bruises, no cuts… nothing! He was more beautiful (than before)! He only wanted to save His wounds and take them with him into Heaven. The wounds of Jesus are here and in heaven before the Father. We tend to the wounds of Jesus here and He, from heaven, shows us His wounds and says to us, to all of us: ‘I am waiting for you!’”