I have felt over my years of involvement in the Young Life Proclamation that we fail to give enough attention to the Resurrection. There is a very significant detail of the Resurrection that is especially poignant for our friends in YL Capernaum. I will point that out a little later in this reflection.
One of the first things of note about the Resurrection is that it’s first witnesses and evangelists were the marginalized. Women. This is astounding when you realized that a woman’s testimony would not be valid in that culture. And yet, the Gospel writers all agree on this. I find it so beautiful that the first witnesses and evangelists to the birth of Jesus – shepherds – and the first witnesses and evangelists to the Resurrection – women – are marginalized members of society. This is Good News for our friends.
The women rush to the disciples but are not believed. They are brushed away, as so many of our friends are. But these women stood in the confidence of what they had witnessed and would not deviate from their story. Their confidence was in the risen Jesus and not what the men thought of them. And we know how the Risen Christ appeared to so many of our friends and how He reveals Himself through them whether acknowledged or not. They are witnesses!
Mary of Mogdola, in tears and grief, lingers at the tomb. She runs into who she thinks is the gardener. Until she hears her name, “Mary!” That familiar voice! The marginalized are rarely known by their names. So many women in the Gospels and throughout the scriptures are unnamed. They are seen through their marginalization as non-persons, but not with Jesus. He utters a woman’s name. “Mary!” And not with our friends. He doesn’t call them by their disability: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, and Down Syndrome. No, he calls their names: Janae, Adan, Big D, Carmela, Caroline. With Jesus the marginalized have names.
Jesus, on that first Sunday night, appears to the disciples behind locked doors. Locked doors mean nothing to Jesus. Isn’t it true that our friends have dealt with constant locked doors all their lives? Good News! Jesus doesn’t just open locked doors, He goes through them. He does this for our friends.
Eight days later Jesus appears to Thomas who does not believe. He urges Thomas to see and touch his wounds. Jesus was beaten beyond recognition on the cross. Now He is risen and His body healed…except for his wounds. His scars. A person with a physical disability can take great comfort that their Savior bears physical scars and wounds for all eternity. Jesus understands their bodies. Our Jesus is risen for all people, including our friends.