Henry Fleming’s wound was superficial. Superficial, and inflicted by one who should have been his friend. Superficial, friendly “fire,” and a painful reminder of his own treachery.
It was certainly no red badge of courage.
Our wounds, too, are usually not nearly as threatening as they might seem – a head cold, a busy schedule, a crying child. Often they are self-inflicted – exhaustion from staying up too late, embarrassment of a job half-done. And almost always they remind us of our own failures – a guilty conscience over words ill-spoken, an ache in the gut from unkindnesses paid to others, veiled eyes that have looked upon evil instead of Christ.
We are all Henry Fleming.
Yet Jesus’ deep wounds supersede ours. They were wounds inflicted by our guilt, not his own. And at the cross it was Christ who was the deserted, not the deserter
His red badge is of love.
So let the enemy know, the battle is over. We Henries need not fear his bullets. Death is defeated.
Or as the 6th century hymn-writer said:
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle
Sing the ending of the fray.
Now above the cross, the trophy
Sound the loud triumphant lay;
Tell how Christ, the world’s redeemer,
As a victim won the day.
Blessed Triduum to you all.