The Gospel story about the man with the withered hand always reminds me of a boy named Calvin who lived on the street next to ours. Calvin had a hand like a fish flipper, and he made us feel queasy.
Back then, in 1938, cars were so infrequent that we could play ball in our street, and sometimes Calvin would come over from his street to watch us. Other times when I was alone, bouncing a ball off our steps, Calvin would come over to talk with me.
Although he didn’t have a pleasing voice, he dreamt of becoming a country-western singer. Country-western music hadn’t caught on in the 30’s. We called it Hillbilly music, and we hadn’t any respect for it.
But that dream of succeeding with his kind of songs was all that Calvin from despair, so I listened to him, saying, “That was good Calvin.”
Knowing Calvin let me understand what a miserable life the man in the Gospel had. It let me share in the joy he felt when at Our Lord’ command he stretched out that hand, and it was as good as anyone’s.
It’s terrible when we, like the Pharisees , are so wrapped up in ourselves that we cannot feel happy abut it when good fortune comes to others.
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