LAYING ON OF HANDS
And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. Lk 13:10
My greatest experience of the laying on of hands was 51 years ago at my ordination. The bishop was elderly and my fear was he might make a mistake and I would end up after 10 years of study not being ordained. But when I felt the firm press of the bishop’s hands on my head it was and still is one of the happiest moments of my life! It was then that the power of Christ to bring about the Eucharist and forgiveness of sins was given to a mere mortal!
LAYING ON OF HANDS
The laying on of hands is a beautiful and frequent phase in Scripture expressing power of Christ being communicated to humans. We see in today’s gospel the poor little crooked woman freed from her disability by the laying on of the hands. In His home town “He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” Mk 6:5 He did the same with the children.
Beautiful things happened when people either touch and were touched by Jesus. Crowds all but suffocated Him trying to touch Him. “He had healed many, with the result that all those who had afflictions pressed around Him in order to touch Him.” Mk 3:9-10 The gospel talks about how they fell upon Him so much He used a boat to go off shore to preach to them so He would not get crushed to death! The women encountering the Risen Christ threw their arms around His feet so He could not get away from them. Wonderful things happen to us when with faith we touch Christ. “By prayer the soul is borne up to heaven and in a marvelous way embraces the Lord.” St John Chrysostom Perhaps it can be summed up in the words of the woman who spent all her money on doctors in vain. “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” Mk 5:28
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.