This past Sunday I attended the 8:30 AM mass at my parish and one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen was at communion.

There was a middle aged woman who was the eucharistic minister nearest me. I happened to look up at one point and saw her hands. They were shaking, presumably from some kind of tremor, usually brought on by Parkinson’s or some other neurological disorder. The tremors are brought about when the dopamine producing nerve cells begin to die that send messages to the parts of the brian that produce movement.

She held the tiny ciboria in her open palm shaking ever so slightly, relishing in giving what she could, while she still could. She held Jesus as best she could and handed the body broken of Christ to us with a broken body herself.

Talk about a thanksgiving moment. It was a moment so beautiful and so simple and yet it comes from such a place of dis-ease, for her presumably and for those who can visibly see her tremor.

It is in that moment that I am able to receive Christ all the more tangibly. I was so aware that the brokenness that we all receive in our lives doesn’t even escape God’s grasp. The nails that pierced Christ’s nerves and bones in his hands squarely lock His pain in place to the wood of the cross. How often do I stay locked in my own sin, causing pain to others? How often an I unable to choose to give Christ’s body with my own to others because I have deemed it too difficult to go that extra step?

I didn’t get that woman’s name, this weekend. She disappeared before I could catch up to her. In a way, I am glad she is nameless to me for now. Her name, while important, doesn’t do justice to who she represents. She is the symbol of the broken body of Christ in a broken world. How many in the world quake with fear because they live in violence? How many shake with hunger every night? How many worry unsteadily in their lives and in their anxiety–how many of us sleep pretty undisturbed?

Today, let us pray that we might be able, while broken ourselves, be able to be the hands of Christ in a broken world that needs someone to offer themselves to it. And we pray for our church, that we can see that even the most broken amongst us, can still bring Jesus to others.

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