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Our lives will be changed when we touch Christ’s wounds present in the sick and needy, says Pope

By on Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Pope Francis celebrating Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

Pope Francis celebrating Mass in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

To meet the living God we must “tenderly kiss the wounds of Jesus in our hungry, poor, sick, imprisoned brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said at Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, this morning, as he marked the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

“Study, meditation and mortification are not enough to bring us to encounter the living Christ,” he continued.

“Like St Thomas, our life will only be changed when we touch Christ’s wounds present in the poor, sick and needy.”

Referring to when Jesus appeared to the apostles after the Resurrection, but Thomas was not there, Pope Francis said: “(God) wanted him to wait a week. The Lord knows why he does such things. And he gives the time he believes best for each of us. He gave Thomas a week.”

When Jesus revealed himself with his wounds “his whole body was clean, beautiful, full of light,” said the Pope.

“(Thomas) was stubborn. But the Lord wanted exactly that, a stubborn person to make us understand something greater. Thomas saw the Lord, was invited to put his finger into the wounds left by the nails; to put his hand in His side and he did not say, ‘It’s true: the Lord is risen’. No! He went further. He said: ‘God’. The first of the disciples who makes the confession of the divinity of Christ after the Resurrection. And he worshiped Him.”

According to Vatican Radio, the Pontiff added: “And so – continued the Pope – we understand what the Lord’s intention was when he made him wait: he wanted to guide his disbelief, not to an affirmation of the Resurrection, but an affirmation of His Divinity.”

The “path to our encounter with Jesus and God,” he said, “are his wounds. There is no other”.

Pope Francis concluded that we do not need to go on a “refresher course” to touch the living God, but to enter into the wounds of Jesus, and for this “all we have to do is go out onto the street. Let us as St. Thomas for the grace to have the courage to enter into the wounds of Jesus with tenderness and thus we will certainly have the grace to worship the living God.”

  • paulpriest

    [Before I start does anyone know what His Holiness means by 'we don't need to go on a refresher course' ?]

    I disagree:

    I sometimes feel His Holiness sits upon the battlefield and provides us with reassuring flowers to make daisy chains..to give us an easy way out to pre-occupy ourselves. Even the most dehumanised marxist can feel obliged to care for the materially dispossessed.

    St Bernard of Clairvaux said looking upon a crucifix ‘in each of the five wounds Christ says to me ‘I love you’ ‘

    Rather than being the ‘wounds of Christ’ the poor, sick and needy are, as St Laurence showed the Emperor:
    “The Treasures of the Church”

    Yes we are called to exact the corporal and spiritual works of mercy – yes we are called to reach out to those for whom we can care – yes we must live our our Faith in Love among our neighbour…but that’s an exigent of the faith and our love of it – it’s a purpose not a telos.

    Who are the poor? The Sick? The needy?

    Mother Theresa has told us..and it’s not the materially empoverished and disenfranchised who dwell in real poverty..but those who live in the soul-destroying spiritual wilderness of self-interest.

    Yes I suppose it’s a nice rhetorical device to have a stubborn St Thomas as being used by God as a polemical tool to profess not merely the Resurrection but Our Lord’s Divinity…but the Apostles were faced with that 12 chapters previously…

    But there is something missing from all this

    The final Beatitude – and amazingly most Biblical translations miss it! Our Lord doesn’t merely state Thomas’s believing via seeing – He asks him!!!

    λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Οτι ἑώρακάς με πεπίστευκας; μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες.

    Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” [RSV]

    We’re the living witnesses to this Divinity and Resurrection who preach of Christ crucified and the greatest love within those wounds – for remember not only was the Crucifixion God’s declaration of love for man – but for His love for God…

    We’re the Blessed!
    …and it’s not us touching the wounds and finding those needing healing.
    .it’s the wounds touching us – and by them we are healed.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    ‘…and it’s not us touching the wounds and finding those needing healing.
    .it’s the wounds touching us – and by them we are healed.’

    I think Francis would say it is Christ’s wounds touching us, our wounds being healed and transformed to trophies like his (though still remaining visible), and then our returning our love to Christ by treating the wounds of others (physical and spiritual) as though they were the wounds of Christ, because they are.

  • paulpriest

    That’s sheer amphiboly
    The wounds of Christ and the ‘wounds’ of those in the Mystical Body of Christ are utterly different things…

    Equivocation isn’t helping – however nice it sounds.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    You both make good points — those wounds were, though, inflicted upon Him by mankind … and we are all guilty of those wounds in our own sinfulness, that is transcended and hopefully forgiven in the Love that we give to Him in the place of those Wounds, and that we receive from Him in spite of them.

    But of course, these meditations are but a small part of thought and spirituality concerning the Wounds of Christ, and an entire book could be written on this deeply profound and luminous subject.

  • NatOns

    ‘To meet the living God we must “tenderly kiss the wounds of Jesus in our hungry, poor, sick, imprisoned brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis said at Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, this morning, as he marked the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.’

    We all know this is true, we do not need a refresher course in the basics of Catholic Faith to learn this.

    ‘”St Bernard of Clairvaux said looking upon a crucifix ‘in each of the five wounds Christ says to me ‘I love you’ ‘”‘

    Here I agree with you, very few Catholics seem to have a grasp of this Truth of Faith in any meaningful way – or at all. A refresher course is certainly on the board for way too many priests, not least in understanding the Catechism of the Council of Trent .. which was given to help them present just such a Sacred Tradition AKA the Living Faith.

    “‘Rather than being the ‘wounds of Christ’ the poor, sick and needy are, as St Laurence showed the Emperor: “The Treasures of the Church”‘”

    Now there I do feel left behind by the Holy Father’s flight of insight; the Sacred Wounds of our atoning Redemption are the Treasures of the Church; the poor, the sick, the needy are deep in those healing wounds or they are not of Christ with us and in the Triumph of His human victory wrought in divine glory; after all, each one of us is poor, sick and needy, for only hid in His wounds are we made whole: The Precious Blood of our Lord and Saviour – and in no other.

    Soul of Christ, be my sanctification; Body of Christ, be my salvation; Blood of Christ, fill all my veins; Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains; Passion of Christ, my comfort be; O good Jesus, listen to me; In Thy wounds I fain would hide; Ne’er to be parted from Thy side; Guard me, should the foe assail me; Call me when my life shall fail me; Bid me come to Thee above,With Thy saints to sing Thy love, World without end. Amen. Trans. of Anima Christi by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.

  • http://shadowlandslabradors.blogspot.com/ Jackie Parkes

    Ah that’s why they call you the Pope from Corby Paul! :)

  • Sara_TMS_again

    This isn’t a theology I know much about, but I think there are some writers who Francis likes who have done a lot of work on it, both now and in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

    If it ain’t your bag, it ain’t your bag. Personally, I find it quite an interesting way of cashing the two great commandments. But I agree that it’s not very British.

  • paulpriest

    ‘they’ being?
    My words for them are unprintable