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All Issues > Volume 29, Issue 5

<< Monday, September 9, 2013 >> St. Peter Claver
Colossians 1:24—2:3
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Psalm 62:6-7, 9 Luke 6:6-11
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"There was a man whose right hand was withered." —Luke 6:6

In the ancient world, a person's right hand carried a special dignity. It was used to confer a permanent blessing (Gn 48:13-18). A king held his staff in his right hand (see Mt 27:29), and a priest's right hand was consecrated (Ex 29:20). A thief's right hand was cut off, thus perpetually reducing his status in society. People shook their right hands to complete a transaction, thereby giving their right hand the power to uphold their word.

The right hand of God also carries a special dignity and power (Ex 15:6, 12; Mt 22:44; Ps 44:4). His right hand is just and true (Ps 48:11). His right hand upholds His people (Ps 18:36; 63:9).

Therefore, when Jesus told the man with the withered right hand to stretch out his hand, Jesus did much more than restore his right hand (Lk 6:10). He also restored the man's dignity and power in society.

Along with our right hand, God gave us free will. We can use our right hand to serve God or to sin (Ps 109:6; 144:8; 2 Sm 20:9ff). Thus Jesus warns us: "If your right hand is your trouble, cut it off and throw it away!" (Mt 5:30) It is better to lose our human power and social dignity than to misuse it and sin against God.

Jesus now sits at the right hand of God (Mk 16:19; Eph 1:20). What will be our destiny? Will we use our right hands to serve the Lord and so be placed at God's right hand? (see Mt 25:34) Or will our entire body be "cast into Gehenna"? (Mt 5:29) Take Jesus' nail-scarred right hand and let Him make your life right.

Prayer: Lord, "if I forget You...may my right hand" wither (Ps 137:5). May I use my right hand, my entire body and soul, to serve You and thus enjoy "the delights at Your right hand forever" (Ps 16:11).
Promise: "Trust in Him at all times, O My people!" —Ps 62:9
Praise: St. Peter Claver used his right hand to feed, heal, and baptize over 300,000 captive African slaves.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013.
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 29, Issue 5
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