Good Friday: “Hands Down”

Hands-Thumb-Down-iconWe handed you over to die, Lord.  (Yes, I’m back to the hands thing.)  It was the handy thing for us to do, considering who you thought you were and who we were positive you were not.

We’re not sure if it was our left or right hand but one of our hands opened your palms making sure the nails fit tightly.  Less hands for Jesus to hand us another one of his wildly weird stories and self-proclaimed claims.  We truly handed you over.  Handy of us because it was purely for and about ourselves.  “Handle with care” was your underlying message to us about others but you just handed us a bunch of you know what, those two letters which don’t mean Boy Scouts.

You’ve got to hand it to us though.  We handed you over to Pilate’s hands and his hands were washed clean of any guilt.  What guilt do we handily wash clean of because we’re either not responsible or because it doesn’t involve us?  We’re in safe hands with that thinking as long as we stay within our comfortable and closed selves.

“He was a hand me down guy,” we say about you, Jesus, as we said before of all the prophets.  You were handy to us for awhile until you called us to something more than ourselves and we weren’t able to …well, handle you any longer.  So we crucified you.  Clean hands, have we.  Dirty hands, have we. If I asked for a show of hands this Good Friday, all of our second hands would go up but it’s too late…now.

Where were we when it was hands down to Pilate’s cleansing?  Where were we when the “hands
have it” as we passively joined a majority of losing opinions?  You were bound hand and foot and we were all close at hand as the hands of time stopped between 12 and 3 as we easily handed over our salvation just to keep our hands clean.  We clapped our hands welcoming you on Palm Sunday and then clapped our hands once more on this day, your death day.

After all, it’s Good Friday.  This is the day when our hands are tied.  Don’t blame us for your nailed hands.  This is the day when our hands are folded in deep prayer to save only ourselves.  Handy, memorized prayers directed to something or someone, we’re not sure to whom.  This is the day when our hands are hidden behind our backs so no one can see our actions.  Because you see the left doesn’t know what the right is doing this sad day.  This is the day when our hands block our eyes to keep them safely from handing us a problem to handle – from a new perspective or from a second thought.  How wickedly convenient Good Friday is for us.  How wonderful and ugly is this day we handed you Lord.  We’re the three monkeys on this glorious but sad day.  Good Friday hands us a greater handful of ourselves.  Good Friday hands us the glory of our own, selfish lives.  Hearing, seeing and speaking are all conveniently covered by, you guessed it, our hands.

We’re Pilates’ clean hands.  We have more time on our hands without doing anything for anyone else.  Hell, we can now say to anyone who approaches us looking for a simple smile or to share a story, “Hands off.”  Good Friday says that we have our hands full …hands full of ourselves.

You’ve got to hand it to us, we’ve had our hand in this since the beginning.  We handed over the the-would-be-Christ to Pilate.  Pretty handy of us, don’t you think?  The blood of Jesus is on our hands.  We could have told Pilate, “hands off” to our Savior but we chose instead to leave it in the hands of others – it was not our concern, our hope, our salvation.  Let someone else handle it.

We’ve got to hand it to ourselves.  None of us lifted a hand.  We washed both of them carefully with Pilate’s water.  It’s gotten out of hand and now He’s died.

Although even though it’s second hand, some say that the hand dealt Jesus is not yet played.  There’s a couple more cards handed to him.  But what’s the deal?  We know the cards handed to Jesus.  That’s the deal handed to Jesus.  What’s our deal?

How about on this Good Friday we take a hands off approach and just see what happens.  We may be handily surprised.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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