In cattle-raising and sheep-raising states, ranchers have a kind of identification system to judge the worthiness of a cattle- or sheep-herding dog.
Any rancher in the market for a new herding dog will pay big money for a trained herding dog – IF the dog’s face, ears, and gums display the scars of battle from the sharp claws and teeth of mountain cats and wolves.
Those scars identify a worthy herding dog.
In the movie, Jaws, shark hunter Quint and marine biologist Hooper -- in competition -- brag and show-off their scars, to prove how tough and qualified they are to take on and stop the man-eating Great White Shark feeding on people swimming at the shore.
In his Letter To The Galatians [Gal 6:14-18], Saint Paul speaks of the form of identification that every true, authentic Christian should have. Saint Paul teaches that, what makes followers of Jesus Christ identifiable and praiseworthy to the Lord are our scars: our spiritual scars, emotional scars, and sometimes even physical scars similar to Our Lord Jesus’ scars!
Among the teachings Our Lord Jesus gave us in Saint Luke’s Gospel, there is one very peculiar lesson in Chapter Ten [Luke 10:1-12, 17-20]. In that Gospel passage, Our Lord Jesus is sending His disciples out to preach that the Kingdom of God has come. He instructs these disciples, and gives them the subtle and curious advice, “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.”
Now, in case you missed basic zoology somewhere along the way, sheep and lambs do not come through very well when they are surrounded by wolves! By stating that He is sending us like lambs among wolves, Our Lord Jesus is warning us: Faithful Catholics will be subject to the same hurts and opposition as Our Lord Jesus Himself experienced.
Our Lord Jesus did not let Himself off the hook from experiencing the hazards of living in a sinful world.
He did not excuse Himself from graduating from the school of hard knocks! And He does not shield us from the hazards and consequences of living in this sinful, often violent world.
Our Lord Jesus, today, in our time, sends us out into the world like “lambs among wolves.” He sends us out to stand up, speaking the Truth of His Gospel and faithfully, courageously confronting human sinfulness and the Devil.
- Once you take a clear-cut stand against some form of evil, because you know Christ would battle that evil, you put yourself in a good position for acquiring some Christ-like scars.
- Once you take a unambiguous stand and you support a cause or value that is not popular, because you know Christ would support that cause, you become eligible for picking up some Christ-like scars.
- Once you call for peace, compassion, mercy, or generosity – because you know Christ would call for these – while people around you call for anger, revenge, cruelty, and selfishness – because of this, you are in the blessed situation to secure some Christ-like scars.
Our Lord Jesus has scars from the top of His head to the soles of His feet.
The scars of the nails, the spear, and the crown of thorns became His exclusive proof of identification – which He presented to His disciples when He first appeared to them after rising from the dead.
The Lord Jesus loves His scars, because they remind Him of the astounding love and compassion He feels for each one of us. He accepted His torture, crucifixion and death to save us!
The Lord Jesus loves each of us so dearly, that He transferred those scars to His glorified, risen Body.
And He will display those scars of love for you and me in Heaven, now and for eternity.
What Christ-like scars of love do you have? Do you have the marks, the wounds which identify yourself as a long-time, faithful Catholic?