Today’s Reflection from a Lenten Companion:

To give the Padre a day off he asked one of his Lenten companions write today’s reflection:

My name is not important because I could be anybody. I am known as the man with the withered hand. It wasn’t always that way. I was a stonemason and a good one. It was hard work, but at the end of the day when I put down my hammer and chisel there always was a feeling of accomplishment. Often I would step back and look at my work. I never wanted to be anything else; this was my calling.

Then it happened. A large stone dislodged and crushed my hand, my right hand, the hand that knew just how much force was needed for each blow, the hand that always was true in its aim. How would I ever work at my trade again? How would I support my wife and children? How do I cope with losing my vocation and purpose in life? Truth be told, I was miserable to be with, and my wife and kids took the brunt of my despair.

I needed to get out of the house. The walls were closing in on me. I had time on my hands (no pun intended) and heard of a teacher in town. He taught in parables, in stories and they spoke to me. It was a different way of teaching than I was accustomed to. Usually our religious leaders told us what to do and not to do. They even alluded to my mangled hand as evidence of some wrongdoing, some sin in my past. There I sat in the crowd when he looked at me. Suddenly he asked a question, but I did not hear it because he continued to stare at me. “Come stand here,” he was speaking to me! I was embarrassed, a man not working, a deformed hand, and a room filled with people. I stood before this man who said, “Stretch out your hand.” Was he mocking me? Could he not understand my pain, my despair in being useless? But I raised my arm and opened my hand. Did you hear that? I opened my hand! I felt the muscles tighten in my hand and arm, and they responded; life came back into them!

I tell you this story because they arrested this man and crucified him. I know this because it was my job one Friday to roll a huge stone in front of a tomb. It was then I saw the body of Him who had given me back my life. One of the people standing nearby made the comment: “He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly!” I can never thank Him for what He did except to live my life for Him, who gave me this new life.

I have heard stories that are hard to believe. Some say this man rose from the dead, that He is the Christ. I can only tell you: He gave me life.