Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Withered Hearts

"He stretched it out and his hand was restored." Mk 3:5

Forty years ago when I visited Lourdes an old sister told me, "Not everyone is cured, but everyone is healed." I smiled a little smugly when I heard her pious words, but was convinced she was right that evening as I watched the procession of the sick through the streets of Lourdes.

Those of you who have witnessed this remarkable phenomenon know exactly what I mean.  Thousands of sick people, in wheel chairs and on stretchers, make their way slowly through the streets listening and, when they can, singing Marian hymns. Most of them are accompanied by young people from all over the world. Anyone seeing this powerful demonstration of faith is healed. I surely was.

In today's gospel Jesus stretches out his hand and cures the man with the withered hand. Listening to the proclamation of the gospel this morning, I was struck by Jesus' simple gesture, and thought of all the people who had stretched out a hand to me, like the young people of Lourdes, and healed me. How powerful it is to be touched by caring hands and hearts when we are in pain. Though we may not be cured, we are surely healed.

Today, stretch out your hand towards someone who is lost, confused or hurting.

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