Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.
-Saint Teresa of Avila
How often do we hear it said that we should be Christ’s hands and feet? We should be the ones who bring His message, His gospel truth to the world. We are called, over and over again in Christian writing, to be the hands and the feet of Jesus. But what does it mean to be the hands and feet of Christ?
Look at the hands and feet of Christ: they are pierced the whole way through. Perhaps that fact seems obvious, trivial even, but when we look at the state of His hands and feet, we can better understand what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ.
His hands carried the cross. They must have been swollen, beaten, blistered, and had splinters the likes of which we wouldn’t believe. The fact that His hands carried the cross shows us that we are also called to carry the cross, even if it is heavier than we think we can bear, even if we get splinters, even when it threatens to crush us. We are called to carry the cross when it isn’t neat and easy. We are called to carry the cross even when our hands get dirty. For the record, our hands will get dirty. Christ’s hands weren’t always spotlessly clean. We are called to get our hands dirty and carry the cross.
His hands were pierced, not just a little paper cut, but pierced the whole way through. Scripture tells us that the apostle Thomas could see through the wounds of Christ. His pierced hands invite us to bear the wounds of others, to open our hands and be vulnerable with others. Opening our hands enables us to be transparent, to share the fullness of the gospel without holding anything back.
His feet labored to carry Himself as He carried the cross to Mount Calvary. His feet endured each stone and bump in the road and continued to carry Him on His journey towards salvation for all of humanity. His feet – bloodied, bruised, dirty, worn – invite us to continue on the journey. Though the road to salvation will no doubt have stones, bumps, and mountains to climb, His feet show us that we must keep going to attain salvation. Giving up, even though the pain and the toil may be great, is not an option.
His feet, too, were pierced. It wasn’t as if the struggle of getting to Mount Calvary wasn’t enough, but He allowed His feet to be pierced. Once again, the piercing shows us that even when we do all that we can to arrive at a good, holy place of salvation, we may be met with more pain and suffering. It is then, in the midst of pain and suffering, that we truly learn what it means to be His hands and feet: we must experience the crucifixion with Him and be willing to live it out in our own lives if we are going to enjoy the fruits of the resurrection.