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The Catholic Moment: Into our hands

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

By Father Rob Waller

A youngish girl comes to Communion, and as she has been taught and is accustomed, she places her left hand in her right hand to receive. As the priest says, “The body of Christ,” and as she says, “Amen,” both sets of eyes look into her left palm and see that she has a telephone number written on her hand. She quickly switches and puts her right hand on top.

One could say, “Young lady, out of respect for the Eucharist, please wash your hands before coming to Communion.” Or one could wonder whose number that was, and whether she wanted to call it, could hardly wait to call it, hesitated to call it or was afraid to call it and thus, didn’t call it yet.

Those of us who distribute Communion see all kinds of hands: soft and manicured hands that look like they have never seen a concern, a scrub bucket or an hour of work; other roughed up and mangled hands that look like they have endured every kind of work, worry and war. But we never really know, do we?

All those people in church with us on any Sunday — we are clueless about what is at hand for them. We have no idea what each of them is handling in life. We do not know what they are dealing with, we do not know what they need, and even if we did, we probably could not provide it for them anyway. But the Lord does, can and will. It is into all those hands, and into whatever is at hand for them, and into whatever they are handling at this moment that the Lord wants to come.

All those hands to which you are invited to extend your own in a sign of Christ’s peace — you are clueless about what they might handling in life. You do not know what would give them peace, and you yourself cannot give them peace they need anyway. But the Lord can and will.

Into the Lord’s hands we place ourselves. And into our hands, into their hands, and into whatever each of us is handling, He comes.

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