Monday, April 8, 2013
Easter in Our Midst
From Fr. Dave Cooper's April 7th bulletin column-so good I have to share:
"Seventeen-year-old Eli loved her grandfather Yosef very much and wanted to do something very special for him. So she got a tattoo. When Yosef saw the tattoo, he was overcome. With tears in his eyes, he bent his head and kissed the new tattoo on his granddaughter’s left forearm. Yosef has the same tattoo: the number 1-5-7-6-2-2. The number was permanently inked on his own arm by the Nazis at the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Nearly 70 years later, his granddaughter got hers after a high school trip to Auschwitz. The following week, her mother and brother and later, her uncle followed suit. Yosef’s children and grandchildren are among a small but growing number of descendants of Auschwitz survivors in Israel who have taken this step of memorializing the darkest days of their people’s history. As more and more Holocaust survivors pass on, Israel’s religious and educational institutions are grappling with how to best remember the Holocaust—so integral to Israel’s founding and identity. Eli, who has had her grandfather’s tattoo for four years now, says: “All my generation knows nothing about the Holocaust. You talk with people and they think it’s like the Exodus from Egypt, ancient history…I want to tell them my grandfather’s story and the Holocaust story.” Some people have reacted very negatively to the tattoo. A woman in Jerusalem said to Eli, “God creates the forgetfulness so we can forget.” But Eli responded, “Because of people like you who want to forget this, we will have it again.” For her own children and grandchildren, Eli’s tattoo will be the story of their family and people’s triumph in the face of devastation. [The New York Times, September 30, 2012]
In today’s Gospel, Jesus appears to his disciples and shows them his hands and his side; later he invites the doubting Thomas to touch the marks made by the nails and the gash from the soldier’s lance. Easter does not deny the effects of Good Friday nor erase the wounds of crucifixion—Easter is God’s compassion moving us beyond the scars of crucifixion to healing and wholeness. We all have “nail marks” from our own Good Fridays that remain despite our experiences of resurrection. We learn from our scars. Our “nail marks’ remind us that all pain and grief, all ridicule and suffering, are transformed into healing and peace in the love of God we experience from others and that we extend to them. Compassion, forgiveness, justice—no matter how painful and dear the cost—can heal and mend, can transform and restore. In the light of unwavering hope, with the assurance of God’s unlimited grace, even the simplest act of kindness and understanding is the realization of Easter in our midst."