"You need hands to hold someone you care for,
You need hands to show that you're sincere.
When you fear nobody wants to know you
You need hands to brush away the tears.
When you hold the brand new baby
You need tender hands to guide them on their way
You need hands to thank the Lord for living
And for giving us this day."
The Sex Pistols
I'm floored every time I think about how strange it is that these lovely words come from a punk rock band that symbolizes the exact opposite of love and peace. But in this song, I think they have captured a very meaningful representation of an important part of our bodies. I've been thinking about the power we hold within our hands. We can reach out to others with an embrace or a handshake and offer our love and friendship. Or, we can strike others, lash out in anger through physical violence and obscene gestures. Holding our hands open in front of us resembles the openness of our hearts, the welcoming we desire to both give and receive.
I have been remembering my dad's calloused hands from years of hard work and repeated daily diabetes testing. I can picture my mom's arthritic hands, gnarled and swollen with pain. I recall with great joy the sweet sensation of my own babies hands wrapped around my finger. All of these hands bring feelings of joy mingled with sadness. But perhaps the hands which have been the most meaningful to me throughout my lifetime, are the beautiful hands of a priest as he caresses the bread within them and through his touch, this simple food becomes God Himself. What a miracle each and every Mass contains through hands which are devoted to God.
I thank you Lord, for the gift of our hands. Help us to use them with great care, remembering that they can carry your love to the world, or they can shut the world out of our lives. I pray that when we hold our hands in prayer to you they will become more holy, more gentle and more loving. I pray that others will see and feel you in the tender touch of our hands. Amen.