As a seminarian, I was assigned by my professor, Msgr. Sabino Vengco, to attend to the spiritual needs of the poor patients at the Bagong Lipunan Hospital along East Avenue in Quezon City. Now, this hospital is known as the East Avenue Medical Center.
I was assigned to attend to an 80-year-old woman. She had become blind because of diabetes. At first, when I would talk to her, I would keep a respectful distance. In time, however, we became quite familiar with each other.
One time while we were talking, she suddenly wept, and so I touched her hand. This made her cry even more. She said, “Brother, ang tagal-tagal na nating magkakilala, ngayon mo lang hinawakon ang kamay ko.” In a her weak voice trembling with emotions, she continued, “Siguro, iyong kamay mo katulad ng kamay ng Digos. Ang tagal tagal ng walang humahawak ng kamay ko. Walang gustong humawak ng kamay ko. Salamat mayroon pa palang taong gustong humawak ng kamay ko.”
I will never forget that incident because it deeply touched something within me. To hear someone say “Thank you for touching me, perhaps your hands are like the hands of God,” was the best compliment I have ever received from anybody.
I recall that story to you now primarily to point to the power of our hands. Jesus touched people and they were healed. Jesus touched people and they recovered from their illnesses. Jesus touched people and they regained the meaning of life.
Perhaps our hands are not as powerful as the hands of Jesus. Perhaps when we touch a sick person, that sick person will not be healed. But I am sure that if you will only touch, and dare to touch a sick person whom you do not like to touch, the broken heart of that person will be healed. The wonder of the human touch has mended so many broken hearts.
Unfortunately, we are not willing to dare.
I am told by many people that when spouses are not in good terms with each other, they rebuff each other by saying, “Don’t touch me.” This further speaks of the power of the human touch. We touch only the people we love, and we allow ourselves to be touched only by the people whom we also love.
So many people are deprived of God’s hand because we refuse to use our hands to touch their lives. The human hands are so powerful. The human hands have power within themselves to bring fruit, to bring joy, to bring consolation to people.
You must just try it for yourself with the street children here at the EDSA intersection. You may reach out to them with perhaps a peso coin or a few centavos. I am afraid to say that many of you, when you hand over your alms, would be very careful so that your fingers will not make contact with these beggars’ grimy palms.
Unfortunately, it is not just your coin the street children need. Perhaps more than the coin, what the street children need is a little tap on the cheek, or a little squeeze of their hands. It will not cost you anything but it will mean a lot to them.
Jesus knew the power that lay in the human hands. Let us appreciate the power within our hands. Let us reach out to one another in love.
Only Jesus, Always Jesus