In Time of Lockdown
Lockdown is a new word for most of us. In the days after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were in lockdown behind closed doors, paralysed in fear and anxiety. When tyrants start killing it rarely stops at one. Violence is a highly contagious virus. It is understandable that the disciples were paralysed in fear.
But all changed when the Risen Lord appeared to them. At this time of lockdown it may be beneficial to ponder on the encounters of the Risen Lord with the confused disciples. These encounters follow a pattern.
First, the visionaries are in a bad way: behind closed doors; Mary Magdalene weeping outside the tomb; the Emmaus disciples have lost hope; Peter and others go back fishing but catch nothing. Then the Risen Lord appears. Initially they do not recognise him until he gives them a sign. This sign is the key to each story, revealing the various ways that the Lord is with us in our difficult times.
Today’s gospel has two stories of the Risen Lord coming to the disciples in their locked-down condition. On each occasion the Lord is recognised by the wounds of crucifixion. He showed them his hands and his side.
The lesson of the story is that the Risen Lord is with us in times of trouble. Remembering his wounds will help us to get in touch with our own wounds. The first story moves from the wounds of Jesus to our wounds of sin and guilt. The Risen Lord bestows the power of the Holy Spirit on the disciples to bring us God’s mercy and forgiveness.
The story of Thomas is about a man struggling with doubts, arguing with others, absolutely refusing to accept what they are saying. Not a nice state to be in. The Risen Lord invites him, not merely to look at his wounds, but to touch them. “Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.”When Thomas touches the Lord’s wounds his doubts disappear and he believes.
The steps in rehabilitation begin with getting in touch with our wounded situation and then handing over to the Higher Power. And there is no Power higher than the Saviour who knows suffering from the inside because he experienced it personally, but he rose from the dead.
Meditating on the cross and resurrection of Jesus will strengthen our belief that he is with us in these difficult times of lockdown and anxiety about what lies ahead.
As the great prophet Isaiah said, “Ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. By his wounds we are healed.”
Br Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap.