Our readings today are a treat. They both come from St. Luke, the finest writer in the New Testament. In writing his Acts of the Apostles Luke referred to his Gospel as “My former work.” For today let’s first take Thursday’s reading from the Acts.
In it St. Peter had just cured a man who had been crippled from birth. He explained to the crowd of Jerusalem onlookers that the healing power he exhibited was a sample of the greatness emanating from Jesus Christ. He went on to explain how the Father had glorified Jesus.
In this reading Luke showed his masterly writing in two sentences. First: “You denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked that a murderer be released to you.” And, secondly: “The author of life you put to death.”
In the Gospel the Risen Christ showed his wounds to the Apostles. It reminds me of a field trip we took when I was in the sixth grade at a public school in St. Louis. Weird as it sounds, Miss Buck actually took us to the City Morgue. I opened one of the square fridge doors, and when I gave the stretcher a yank it slid out with an old dead man on it.. He had deep dried up wounds. I don’t know how he got them, but there was no way he could have stayed alive with those deep holes.
The spike holes in the hands and feet of the Risen Jesus, and the lance wound in his side, while keeping their deep deadly dimensions, had become guarantees of God’s plan for turning human troubles into badges of joy.