In the Catacombs there is an ancient piece of art showing the woman in the Gospel thinking: "If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole". The gospels relate numerous occasions where people are trying to touch Jesus. Here in today’s Gospel He commands us: "touch Me and see"
Each fingertip has more than 3,000 touch receptors each reporting events in overlapping fields about one-tenth of an inch across. No special skill is needed to feel the difference between a smooth pane of glass and one etched with grooves 1/2500 of an inch deep. The sense of touch is an amazing gift of God! It brings the object touched deeply into the mind and heart of the one handling it. Touching is an experiencing of someone as deeply as seeing them. So Jesus commands us to touch and see Him. But here we are not just to touch the hem of his garment but the very living wounds of Christ in His Risen Body!
Recently people paid a $1,000 to shake hands with the president. For them it was well worth their money to touch the hand of the most powerful man in the world. But for grace we are told to touch the powerful hands, feet of Christ, and to thrust our hand into his side by His heart. Every day when we attend Mass we are told by Christ: "Take (in Greek: lambanō lay hold of), eat; this is my body." Mt 26:26 How blessed we are to touch the Risen Body of Christ!
We are charged to banish doubt (dialogismos in Greek NT: paralysis of analasis) and to touch the love of God for us. The Greek word for touch is psēlaphaō which means to rub or go over the place many times. Of course without faith this will not happen. But with faith the most intimate moment with Christ can be experienced! We must touch these wounds of the Risen Christ as many times as He invites us by grace that His power and love might fill our minds and hearts!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.