Jesus was wounded for our offenses. In his wounds we are healed. In the Prayer the Anima Christi, one of the invocations is “within your wounds hide me.” How is it possible to hide in the wounds of Jesus? We know he was wounded by scourges, he was wounded by a crown of thorns, he was wounded by nails in his hands and feet, and he was pierced in his side. These wounds are the result of his rejection by the very people he has come to save, each one of us. He paid a price we could not pay. He suffered a horrible death to put to death, death itself. He took on these wounds to offer us freedom.
We have our own wounds. They are not from scourges or nails or thorns or a sword but from a lack of love of God and neighbor. They are the wounds of sin, both those we have committed and those that have been done to us.
In a few moments, each of us will come forward to venerate the cross of our Lord, bearing our own wounds. We come to him with sorrow and suffering in our hearts. We pray that the wounds of our guilt may be healed by the wounds of Christ’s mercy. Our wounds are known to him. These are wounds of pride, arrogance, lust, selfishness, greed and violence: The wounds of our hands when we struck out at others rather than offer to lift them up: The wounds of our feet when we walked away from those in need instead of offering to carry them: The wounds of pride when we considered ourselves too good to serve or too proud to admit weakness: The worst of all, the wounds of the heart broken by rejection or having broken hearts out of selfishness or cruelty.
Jesus Christ, free from all sins, took on the ugliness, the emptiness and our rejection of his offer of unconditional love. He calls out to us from the cross:
“I thirst.” He thirsts for us to hide our wounds in his. He thirsts for our suffering, he thirsts for our broken and hardened hearts. This day he offers to hide these wounds in his so that they can be forgiven and healed by the blood and water that flows out of his pierced heart. How can we not take him on this offer? How can we not embrace the cross and kiss it and say that here my wounds are hidden and here they are healed? Why would anyone stay away?
Jesus Christ has come among us one of us so that he can live with us and offer his life for us in love for the Father and for the sorrow of the human race. The cross we venerate today makes clear the glory of God the Father, the love of God the Son and the power of God the Holy Spirit to free us and bring us back to life. Leave your wounds here. Leave your sorrow here, leave your sins here, and go with the love of Jesus Christ to make that love, the love which will direct your life.