A New Laying-On of Hands
In the post-Resurrection Gospel (John 20:26-29) that is read on what is known as the Sunday of St. Thomas, God tells us a story of a new kind of laying on of hands. What seems to be a moment of doubt for the Apostle Thomas, instead becomes an instruction both on bodily resurrection and the use of hands to impart divine spirit, love, light, and understanding. This passage demonstrates how an intellectually-based 'faith alone' is not enough. Faith, as belief, requires Spirit-imbued actions.
Faith - which is revealed when God reaches down from Heaven and blesses the priest's hands to consecrate the bread and wine - is renewed by partaking of the Most Holy and Precious, Body and Blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
Faith - which is demonstrated by the real presence of the Holy Spirit in the holy oil - is renewed as a hand imparts oil, awakening a soul to his/her mission in accomplishing the will of God. Later, when the body is broken, these same hands impose oil and beg for healing.
Faith - which is at work when hands hold a baby in baptismal waters - is renewed when we take care of the most vulnerable sheep.
Faith - which is at work when hands are laid in ordination - is renewed when we ensure that the work of the Old Testament priests and prophets, and the New Testament bishops, priests, and deacons continues for another 3,500 years.
Faith - which is symbolized by the joining of hands at a wedding - is renewed when the bride and groom are bound in their search for salvation.
Faith - which is at work in the hands of a priest imparting the God-given absolution in confession - is renewed as a penitent receives love, mercy, and justice.
Faith - which is at work in the clasped hands of a person in prayer - is renewed in the quenched longing for guidance and discernment.
Faith - which is at work in the Spirit-filled hands of those who help those in need - is renewed on the streets, in war zones, at work, and in neighborhoods.
Faith is found when you close your eyes and simply reach out with your hand; for a lighted hand of love will reach out for you... and lead you home.