Christ's fingertips

Christ is present, hidden in the heart of the world. Earth could not hold him in death... ~ From our 1970 General Chapter

The shrouding of statues and crucifixes for Passiontide always takes me by surprise, even though I know where we are in Lent. Somehow, a few yards of purple cloth make Easter feel more imminent, reminding me very visually that there are only two weeks to go. Interestingly, too, I notice the statues more, even though they are now invisible, hidden by their draperies.

But yesterday at Mass my attention was caught and then held by part of the crucified Jesus' hand, emerging from the edge of the cloth. Slender fingertips poking through, rather like the first shoots of spring. As we listened to the Gospel of the woman caught in adultery I looked up at that hand, which had refused to point a condemnatory finger; a hand which had blessed and healed, shared food, touched with tenderness and conveyed love and compassion.

Earth could not hold him in death... and neither, it seems, could even the most meticulous shrouding! Those fingertips, simultaneously tentative and bold, reminded me that we can try to contain and control God, to hide him and render him invisible, but something will always emerge and prevail, something far stronger than our puny efforts; something bringing love, healing and grace. And just as Jesus in the Gospels so often stretched out his hand to heal and care, just as he reached out to rescue the drowning Peter and identified himself to Thomas, so now this outstretched, uncontained hand is a reminder of his promise to be with us always, in all places and circumstances, loving us, who are so dear to him, to the very end...

What do those fingertips say to you...?