Summary: This sermon focuses on the scars Jesus received, and reminds us of the Scars we too experience in life, and how we respond.
WHEN HE HAD SAID THIS HE SHOWED THEM HIS HANDS AND HIS SIDE…
All of us have scars somewhere on our body, which have accumulated over the years, and more often than not, there is a story connected to these scars. These scars are reminders of one experience or the other.
Some of these scars serve up pleasant memories – some persons argue that for them each scar is a badge of honor, other scars serve as painful reminders. Some scars are mysteriously present in that we are not too sure as to how they got there in the first place. And though they may be small and insignificant, or barely visible, we still wish, on occasions, that we could trace their origin.
Some of our scars, we have borne since childhood – a scar left from having fallen from a tree, a skate board, a fight – a scar left after having been accidentally burnt, or after a motor accident, or after some type of surgery. These scars are generally proof of our accumulated experiences, and apart from plastic surgery, remain with us our entire life.
I remember as a boy growing up in the country, learning to ride a go-cart/scooter, a bicycle and later the skateboard and roller skates, the many lessons rendered my lower extremities full of scars some I still can recognize and can actually connect to the particular event. Despite the hard lessons and hard knocks, the result is I can boast of being one of St. Georges better roller skaters and also better skateboarders. I certainly have the scars to prove it.
Our lord Jesus Christ’, most visible scars which he accumulated over his lifetime were those which were proof that he had changed the course of history and had accomplished a feat which many were incapable of accomplishing. For he used those wounds, those scarlet badges of his compassion to open wide the gates of heaven.
It was those scars left from the nails driven through his hands and feet and from the spear launched into his side. It was those scars by which the disciples identified him as the risen Lord.
Those scars he freely showed to them so that they would know that he was indeed telling the truth, they could touch them to prove to themselves that he was no figment of their imagination. Those scars were proof that he knew what pain and suffering were about and that he was flesh and blood like the next fellow – he was truly human.
Those scars bore a special message too, that pain and suffering are inescapable. Every one of us will have these experiences in varying degrees, but we can rise above these eventually to become transformed – different, but in a better way. Pain and suffering may make us cautious, but we do not have to become embittered.
Perhaps the most difficult scars to deal with are those not visible to the human eye. Those scars which now mar the surface of our heart, making it rough and jagged and uncomfortable to touch. The scars I speak of are the ones which we mostly would wish to forget about. These are the ones we wish we could remove entirely, but we cannot – at least not so easily.
The origin of these scars, lie in the stories of things done and left undone. Things which we, for our part are responsible for; and things which other persons may be held accountable for.
When we see in our minds, the scars on our hearts which we have been solely responsible for, we long to be able to remove them right away. On the other hand, the scars left there by others, we linger over because for us there are reminders of our right to be angry over the mistakes made by others. These are the scars which are used by us to distance ourselves from those others and in order that we may refuse to forgive them and to even wish them ill.
The invisible scars we carry around day after day, year after year are the ones which can create all kinds of phobias in our minds. And until they are removed, then God is unable to make his presence strongly felt in our hearts.
Just like how we may have a reaction to our physical scars, for example, having fallen from a tree and fractured a limb we may develop a phobia for climbing or for heights. So then, as a result of our psychological scars, we may develop fears about loving and trusting and feeling and giving and forgiving.
As a further result of this, we begin to lack the genuineness and sensitivity, warmth and wholistic wisdom which make us caring individuals within the human race. We either deliberately or inadvertently/unintentionally become recluse, withdraw from the general life of the society, thereby offering very little of ourselves.