Stretch out your hand!

Tuesday of the 16th week Ordinary Time

Exodus 14:21-15:1

Matthew 12:46-50

A priest stretches out his hands a lot when administering the sacraments. For example, in the Eucharist, I will stretch out my hands over the gifts. In baptism, I stretch out my hands over the parents and child and bless them in the name of God. In reconciliation, I stretch out my hands to give absolution. Finally, when someone needs the anointing of the sick, I stretch out my hands in silent prayer and ask God for his healing. To be able to stretch out my hands is an ancient symbol.

Whenever we come upon an outstretched hand in the biblical story, be ready for something to happen. God is going to show us his power. So today, we hear about outstretch hands in both readings.

In our first reading, Moses stretches out his hands out across the sea, and the Lord parts the water, and the Israelites cross the sea on dry land. Then Moses stretches hands out across the sea, and the Lord lets the water flow back, and all of Pharaoh’s army is killed. The Israelites are freed from the oppression of the Egyptians and will continue on their way to the Promised Land.

In our Gospel, Jesus is told that his mother and brothers are there to speak to him. Jesus stretches out his hands not to his family but to his disciples and those who need him.

My friends in Christ, let us be mindful of how we will use our outstretched hands. How will our outstretched hands bring about healing and comfort to those who God entrusts to us?

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