A unique moment happens in the Gospel of Luke wherein Jesus asks a question we ought ultimately to answer for ourselves.
And as Jesus went along the multitudes thronged him. And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, who had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately the issue of her blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? And when all denied, Peter said, and they that were with him, Master, the multitudes press thee and throng thee and yet you say who touched me? But Jesus said, Some one did touch me; for I perceived that power has gone forth from me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people for what cause she touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. (Luke 8:42-50)
Notice the question, “Who touched me?” Notice too how nervous the question seems to make the disciples for they are quick to deny that it was them. Bad move as we shall see. Peter finally says, in a rather exasperated tone (and I paraphrase) “Lord you see that hundreds of people are bumping up against you and yet you say ‘Who touched me!?'”
Yes, it is a true fact the hundreds of people bumped up against Jesus that day. But only one woman authentically touched him. Do you see the distinction? It is one thing to bump up against the Lord, to physically have contact with him. It is quite another to really touch him.
Amazed – The disciples seem to perceive Jesus as annoyed at being touched. He is not annoyed, he is amazed. Some one has actually touched him, touched him with faith. And that faith was enough to send healing power forth from him. Hundreds may have bumped up against him but now someone has actually touched him. He insists to look upon her, to see her, for she has faith unlike the others. She has a real faith, a faith that heals and saves: Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace!
Who touched me? …..Have you touched Jesus? Jesus is not asking if we have bumped up against him. We have all handled him in the Eucharist or at least come into contact with him. But have you touched him? At Mass are you among the hundreds who bump up against Jesus or have you touched him?
The Proof is in the Healing – It is easy to say we have touched him, but the truest proof is in the healing we have experienced through the sacraments. To truly touch the Lord with faith is to be made well: to see sins put to death and grace come alive. To see courage replace fear, compassion and forgiveness replace bitterness and revenge, to see chastity replace lust, generosity replace greed….Have you touched the Lord?
We can be so mindless in our reception of Holy Communion. Many people put more faith in Tylenol than they do in the Eucharist. Why? Because when they take Tylenol, they expect something to happen. But too many who approach the altar of the Lord expect nothing from the Holy Communion they receive. Perhaps it is just a ritual to them. But one woman long ago said “If I but touch him I will get well” (cf Matthew’s version at 9:21). This is real faith, faith that touches Jesus. Faith that expects healing and results.
Who touched me? …. Have you touched him?