Holy Thursday: “Hands”

indexThe hands of time has handed us this time, right now.  I hope it’s handy for you because your hands may be full of other concerns.  But hands down, this begins the great three-some of the Christian religion.

All hands on deck for these next three days.  You may be an old hand at this and had this handed down to you by your parents but we don’t wish to bite the hand that feeds us because as we well know – “a bird in the hand is worth two…”

I have to hand it to you for showing up today.  There’s no obligation, no sin if you miss today so you must have a warm heart to match your “cold hands.”  It is good to be here for our Lord’s Supper because a helping hand defeats the devil’s idle hands.

By a show of hands can we give a hand for the man who gave us a helping hand toward salvation?

Hands.  We take these two extensions for granted until one fails us and we need to rely completely on the other, hoping the other will not fail us.  I’ve only heard this second hand but some of us are dealt a bad hand.

We’ll be hearing about hands over the next few days.  Not necessarily the physical but the emotional and spiritual hands.  Like the hands of Jesus which frees and cleanses, like the hands of Pilate that are bound by tradition and regulations, like the handcuffed hands of Barabbas which are falsely freed, or the hands that holds her dead son, or Joseph of Arimathea and his caring hands but too late to lend one of them.  How about that guy’s forced hands to help Our Lord’s cross, or the hands that wiped the sweat and blood off our Lord’s face?  What about the solider’s nailing hands?  Did they have an upper hand or so they thought?

What about our hands?  A helping hand to someone walking slower than last year.  A ready hand to swipe the cheek of a child who yelled at you.  A shoulder’s touch by your hand.  Extending your hand to receive the Body of Christ this holy day.  The handshake of welcome before a meeting or a good meal.  The hand that holds a door for another when you’re in a hurry, the wave of a hand that offers her your chair.

Extend your hand to receive the Body of Christ this holy day.   The hand that waves goodbye to a good friend and the same hand that touches the gravestone whose goodbye is hard to handle.  Extend your hand to receive the Body of Christ this holy day.   The hand that picks up someone’s lost keys and then the same hand that unlocks your empty home where your husband, son or daughter once lived. Extend your hand to receive the Body of Christ this holy day.   The hand that twitches during a boring meetings but holds the baby’s head just right.  The same hand that lifts a drink in toast for a grand occasion and the same hand that ties your shoes in the morning.  Extend your hand to receive the Body of Christ this holy day.

Tonight we put our hands together and applaud the man we think will save us.  We hope will save us.  We pray will save us.  Tomorrow.  Ahhh, tomorrow deals us a different hand as we hand him over to Pilate’s washing hands and the nailing hands of soldiers.  But hands down, today is a wonderful meal.

“Many hands make for light work” as long as other folks do the work.  I don’t lift a finger because life is in my hands.  That’s our temptation in playing against God’s hand when He already has His hands full…and ours are conveniently but sadly empty.

Ahhhh, you gotta hand it to us God, we’ve gotten things out of hand by keeping our hands clean.  We’re simply too scared to be putty in God’s hands so tomorrow we may just choose Pilate’s washing hands and rub our satisfied hands together.  We’re willing to clap for you this holy day but it’s all hands on deck tomorrow.  We’re just not sure.  Are you the one or should we hand ourselves over to the hands of someone else.

You gotta hand it to us Lord, we are a handful.

But still.  Can you hand us that bread.  It’s free, isn’t it?

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

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