The Wounds of Jesus

The Wounds of JesusWe know about the Passion and Death of Jesus primarily through the four gospels. Each of them dwells on certain details of that great story. John's Gospel, more than the others, finds the wounds that Jesus receives on the cross particularly significant. In the tragic events that take place on Calvary they are among the unlikely signs that reveal the mystery of the Word made flesh.

The Gospel of John turns quickly from Jesus' trial before Pilate -- who questions him extensively about his kingdom -- to Calvary where he is crucified with two others. There it focuses on a small symbolic group of individuals: Mary, the mother of Jesus, the disciple whom he loved, and a few others who stand beneath the cross that bears "the King of the Jews." A gentile soldier joins them.

Envisioned by John's Gospel, this group represent the "new Jerusalem," spoken of by the Prophet Zechariah: God "will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem so that when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn." (Zechariah 11, 10; cf. John 19, 37)

This group receives a precious gift.

"It is finished!" Jesus declares as he dies. Then, he bows his head toward them as they mourn over him, and he pours out his spirit on them.

right: the wounds of Jesus, painting by Michael Moran, C.P.

Blood and water from his side


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