Like Jesus, we are invited to remember without bitterness. That’s what forgiveness means – to remember without bitterness. Forgiveness does not mean nothing happened; too much, very much has happened to Jesus and to each one of us. Jesus has been wounded by our sins just as we are, indeed seeing his body wounded by sin makes sin and its consequences undeniable. But his wounding accomplishes our transformation, for his open wounds allow for the unending availability of his mercy. Jesus will be forever full of holes, those marks of his love and compassion and mercy. Jesus is not embarrassed by the intimacy of baring these wounds. He shows us his hands, he most willingly opens his pierced side, his broken heart for Thomas, for each of us, for it is the radiant sacrament of his compassion, the floodgate for his mercy. “Come touch me,” he says. “Put your hand in my side.” His wounded body holds the remembrance of his passion and suffering but without bitterness only love and the longing to console us.
Seeing the wounded Christ, and at the same time acknowledging my own stubbornness and stupidity, which is to say my own woundedness, how could I ever withhold forgiveness, or judge another. If Jesus could forgive in his agony his persecutors, forgive that poor thief writhing on the cross next to him, if he could take back his loser apostles after his resurrection, if he is always so ready to mercy me, who am I to ever withhold forgiveness or nurse a grudge? “Peace,” he says and he breathes on us. Too much has happened but forgiveness is worth it, love is worth it.
The Incredulity of Thomas by Caravaggio.