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Second Sunday of Easter C: April 24, 2022

John 20: 19-31

Fr. John Tran

In today’s reading from Acts of the Apostles, we are told that many signs and wonders were done at the hands of the apostles. In the Gospel today hands are a very important image of faith. What is it about hands?

I remember a lady that I have known who was fascinated by hands.

One of the first things she noticed about people was their hands. This came from taking art in college and having to draw people’s hands. When you think about it, they can tell a lot about a person. Are they strong hands; are they delicate hands; do they show talent in music, art, cooking: are they laboring hands or skilled hands? Whatever hands tell us by looking at them or what they can do, hands are essential for most people in both the ordinary things of daily living and in work or art.

In today’s gospel, Jesus’ hands tell the apostles one very important thing: Those hands are Jesus’ hands. They look like the hands that have comforted many; hands that have cured many people; hands that have been used in many miracles, like making wine out of water, or making a small amount of bread feed many; hands that have handed around bread that has become Jesus’ body; hands that have carried crosses, hand that have been crucified to the point of death. That is especially what those hands told Thomas who doubted: that they were the crucified hands living again. For Thomas, Jesus’ risen hands brought him to unshakable faith. But Jesus tells us that “Blessed are those who have not seem, but have believed.”

Those people are us. We may have the testimony of others, but our belief is not based on seeing those hands ourselves. At least, not as Thomas saw them. We see those hands in the hands of others, and occasionally our hands. Jesus knows us by our hands. As St. Theresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world...and yours are the hands with which he blesses the world.”

We may not escape the doubts of Thomas. But, how will Jesus know me by my hands? Am I using them to serve others, to care for the wounded, to address the needs of the poor and suffering? Am I willing to use my hands to take up the work of Jesus in my world? What tale will my hands tell me? How can they serve better the Jesus of my faith?

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