Cardinal Blase J. Cupich

In his wounds we are healed

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


To read this column in Spanish, click here.

As I pray during Eastertime with the Gospels recounting the appearances of the risen Lord, two things come to mind. First, none of the appearances are public spectacles for Jesus to revel in his defeat over those who put him to death. He does not show himself to Pilate, Herod or the chief priests to gloat in his victory.

Rather, Jesus appears only to those closest to him and transforms their lives in doing so. This tells us that the Resurrection is about more than Jesus’ personal triumph, about more than the new life given to him. It is also about the disciples and the transformation and new life that takes place in them.

Second, Jesus does something unique when he appears to the disciples as a community. When he finds them cowering in fear behind locked doors, he simply greets them by saying: “Peace be with you.” Jesus then shows them that the wounds on his hands and side are still present, even on his glorified body. In fact, the doubting disciple Thomas draws close to him so that he may place his hands in the savior’s wounds.

The message is clear. In every age, the mission of the church, of those who call themselves disciples, is to touch the wounds of suffering humanity. And, in moments of great challenge, like our own, the followers of Jesus will overcome the temptation to cower in fear, by taking up with fresh vigor the mission of caring for the wounds within the reach of their hands. It is in healing the wounds of humanity that their own are healed.

As I mentioned in my last column, the losses we are experiencing during this pandemic can leave us fearful of the future and divided from one another. Increasingly, as the days of our confinement grow longer, people understandably are becoming more anxious about their well-being, more uncertain about their jobs and livelihoods, and uneasy about the effects this moment is having on their children. Fears can paralyze and divide us.

But this is precisely the moment to find healing of our own wounds by touching the wounds of others within our reach. Pope Francis urges us “to find [Christ’s wounds] in doing works of mercy, in giving to the body … of your injured brethren, for they are hungry, thirsty, naked, humiliated, slaves, in prison, in the hospital. These are the wounds of Jesus in our day” (Daily Meditation, July 3, 2013).

This is what it means to put our faith in the risen Lord, to be a community of believers who, in the face of challenges, shun the paralyzing fear that can separate us, and boldly take up the mission Christ has given us: to bring peace and healing to the wounds of humanity.

All we need is faith that the risen Lord is active in this moment, renewing us to take up his mission with fresh vigor. It is a faith that can open our eyes to be more mindful of the homebound, the sick, the homeless and the imprisoned, as we ourselves are isolated.

It is a faith that can move us in these days of separation from loved ones to become more aware that we are members of one interconnected human family, and that the health of each person around us is vital to our health as a society. It is a faith that inspires us to appreciate the generosity of so many who are working  every day for us, including our pastors, as they find creative ways to bring us solace and comfort to cope with the loss of parish life and the sacraments that nourish us.

As the personal and social challenges of this crisis unfold, our parishes will be on the front lines to touch “the wounds of Jesus in our day.” This is not a time to become discouraged or give in to the temptation of locking ourselves up in our fears. This is Eastertime, when the Lord breaks through our fears with his peace and an invitation to be healed in our loss by touching the wounds of the world within our reach.

Peace be with you.