~ Galatians 6:17
Jesus rose from the dead. The father raised him up from the grave, healing his body, putting breath and life and soul into it once again. Oh death, where art though sting? The traces of his death left behind on his body, his wounds, Jesus showed to prove to the doubtful Thomas. If he could raise up the destroyed temple of his body all while going to hell and back (literally) for his people, he couldn't fix a few scars of the flesh? I mean, really, we have ointments for that these days. But like his terrible death, maybe it isn't a question of his power, but of his humility and love. Not only did he allow himself to be utterly tormented physically and spiritually for us - humiliated for us - but he bore the scars on his body for us, even after his rising. Maybe as an Easter people, a people who have died to ourselves and our ways, rising with Jesus to an abundance of joy and love, we are to embrace our scars as well. For they remind us of the small ways in which we were pierced and bled for our Lord. They prove that our bloodshed has brought us deeper into his passion, they provide for us a witness to his life.
This Easter weekend my beautiful God-daughter, Ericka, was accepted into the Catholic church, sealed with the Holy Spirit in Confirmation, and received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time after 19 years of a non-denominational Christian background. Over these recent years, letting Jesus use me to draw her to his bride, the Church, to support her and watch him work wonders in her, has taught me more than I have taught, revealed to me more than I have revealed to her.
Watching her courage as she stood up in front of hundreds on that vigil night, receiving Jesus, I cried. She gave up her old way of life, her old church along with its built-in coffee shop. She walked out on it with its phenomenal preaching and the support of her family, with much to lose and what to gain? Everything worth our love. The body and blood of he who loves her, the marriage supper of the lamb. Watching her stand before the altar of the Lord, knowing her journey, I wonder if she ever feels the scars of her sacrifices. God knows she has given up much for him, and she knows that if she accepts this life he has invited her to, she will continue to bleed for him. Does it scare her like it often scares me looking towards the future?
When I asked her what it was like receiving the Jesus' precious body and blood in the eucharist for the first time, she didn't have much to say. She felt overwhelming love and the sense that Nothing. Else. Matters. She received the living God who humbled himself into the form of bread and wine to come into her body as food. What else is there to matter - to really truly matter? Her words haunt me with the sting of my own pride, as I bring my pleas to Jesus, often forgetting that dwelling with his true presence will always be enough.
We have been blessed. Our lives are gifts that bring about his kingdom upon being given back to him that gives freely. What else is there to matter? We can be pierced and slashed, crushed and humiliated by this world and our circumstances, but if we give it all to Jesus we will rise with him, bearing the scars as proof of his victory in us.