Our hands that pray and serve

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe Week XXV-C, 22 September 2019

Amos 8:4-7 ><}}}*> 1 Timothy 2:1-8 ><}}}*> Luke 16:1-13

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

Our hands are a microcosm of our very selves.

They always reveal something about us. Medical doctors say our hands’ texture and color indicate our health condition. Psychics always read our palms to see our past, present and future. And every suitor always asks for the hand of his beloved for marriage.

In fact, it is always fascinating to observe the hands of a man courting a woman. See how he would always hide his hands inside his pockets or at his back as he puts his best foot forward to impress the lady he is courting. If he wins her heart, they get engaged and that is when they keep on holding each other’s hands until they get married.

There are a lot great beauty and profundity in our human hands that always come in handy for daily living!

“It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.”

1 Timothy 2:8

I love St. Paul’s expression of men praying “lifting up holy hands” which is the sum or integration of prayer and action. Very picturesque, showing us how we must conduct ourselves with God and one another by living in peace and harmony as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. That is why today until next Sunday, our gospel from St. Luke would be challenging us on how authentic our life is as seen from last week’s parable when we experienced God as a loving Father embracing us despite our sins.

This Sunday, the Lord is asking us, “what’s in our hands”?

What are we holding on, literally and figuratively speaking?

Whatever our hands touch and hold are always linked with our whole selves. They cannot be separated from our body for our hands extend us to other people and even with things. Our hands reveal the balance or imbalance within us, the truth and lies we hold on deep inside us.

Photo by Jim Marpa in Carigara, September 2019.

“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Luke 16:13

In our gospel today, Jesus is not asking us to “dirty our hands” with sin. What he wants us to realize from his parable is to be like the wise steward or “hired hand” who used all his resources and intelligence in securing a sound future by doing something finally good to those he had cheated.

Like that hired hand, what are the main concerns of our hands? Do we use our hands for good or for evil? Would we dare to use our hands extensively to achieve eternal life by entering through the “narrow door” Jesus told us last month by keeping our hands busy in doing good, serving the poor and needy?

Our hands are a blessing from God, including the fruits of its labor.

How unfortunate that like during the time of the prophet Amos whom we have heard in the first reading today, we use these very blessings from God to curse and trample others especially the poor and the weak. How ironic and sad that the very hands we use to care for others are the very same hands that beat and even kill others perfectly expressed in the term “blood in one’s hands”. Worst of all, the very hands that pray to God are the same hands that hurt others!

Betania Tagaytay, August 2017.

The late Jaime Cardinal Sin of Manila used to narrate a short story about the gracious hands of God. He said that most of the time, the hands of God caress us, pat our shoulders and even soothe us whenever we are in pain. But, sometimes, the hands of God tap us, even “spank” us when things do not seem to favor us. What matters most, according to Cardinal Sin, whether we are caressed or tapped, the same touches come from God’s loving and healing hands always filled with grace.

In the gospels, we find many instances of Jesus using his hands to raise the sick, to touch the eyes and mouth in restoring senses, and to bless, break and share bread with his friends and sinners alike. When he expressed his immense love for us and the Father, Jesus stretched out his arms and offered his hands on the cross on Good Friday.

Just imagine how with all our sins, God with a stroke of his hand can make us all vanish but chose not to do so and let our trespasses pass. Like the master in the parable we have heard, God is giving us all the opportunities to work with our hands in lovingly serving the people he has entrusted to us in our homes and offices, school and parish, and community.

But unlike that master who still fired his hired hand despite his resourcefulness, God is not judging us into doom. In is infinite love, God gave us Jesus Christ his Son to bring us back to him in eternal life. It is for this that we lift up our hands to him every day, especially in the Holy Mass we celebrate. The best prayer we can offer God is for these “blessed hands” to reach out to everyone in love and forgiveness, kindness and peace. Amen.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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