When a child gets a bruise, she may run to her mother who kisses it to make it all better. The child has to tell the experience, how she got the bruise as her mother listens and reassures her. The mother naturally kisses her daughter’s bruise so healing may come to the bruise itself.
As the child grows more aware she may realize there are bruises that cannot be made better by a simple kiss. So the mother’s role shifts from being the all-powerful healer to the companion who accompanies, now in vulnerability. Telling the experience, of being wounded and of enduring its consequences becomes more crucial. Even as the wound begs to become the place of healing.
The accounts of the resurrection begin with the sorrowful women who have lost their teacher and close friend to a terrible death and when all seems lost, they gather for one final act of compassion. They bring myrrh and spices to anoint Jesus’ body, to offer solace even in death, and to claim a healing of memories.
The myrrh bearing women are not Thomas the Apostle, who demands to see the wounds before he will believe. Rather, these women even before the news of the resurrection come to anoint Jesus’ body so that healing may come from anointing the wounds themselves. Perhaps the women are aware that their humble act of compassion already transcends even death.
When the women came, the angel rolled the stone away, announced the good news to the women and instructed them to tell the disciples. I suspect they told of coming to anoint Jesus’ body of their encounter with the Angel and of their experience.
Like the mother coming to the aid of her daughter, like the myrrh bearing women coming to anoint Jesus’ body it belongs even to God’s glory to come to the aid of mortals not simply with myrrh and spices but to share with us divinity, so that from the wound of our mortality comes our share in eternity.
This is, I believe, what the preface today means: to whose immense glory we understand it belongs, that you would come to the aid of mortals with your divinity, but also would provide a remedy for us out of our very own mortality, and from where the lost had perished, from there you would save all …
Like the mother offering a kiss and the women bringing the myrrh and God healing from the wound itself so too the Gospel teaches us how to behave in our day:
- When narcissism alienates practice poverty to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
- When self-congratulation exults, mourn for loss, and so be comforted
- When a demagogue crushes, show gentle meekness and so inherit the land.
- When justice is breached, righteousness satisfies.
- When antagonism goads, show mercy, and so receive mercy.
- When confusion distracts, clarify the heart to see God.
- When aggression wounds, make peace as children of God
- When persecuted, rejoice and be glad, for your great reward
- When narcissism, pride, aggression, persecution opens a wound apply the healing salve of poverty, gentleness, mercy, peace.
These values of the kingdom are easily over-looked or cast-aside. Such eternal values require great courage and perseverance in the face of opposition so easy to come by. These gentle values are the life of a monastic community; because we know it belongs to divine glory to come to the our aid and share with us divinity.
Let the healing come from the bruise itself where our Lord meets us.