If we were given a trip in a time machine, I suspect many of us would choose to visit the time of our Lord—to join the crowds in today’s Gospel, seeking healing or at least a glimpse of the famous healer. Many of us would be seeking peace for ourselves, or carrying on the mats and pallets of our hearts the bodies of suffering loved ones. Some of us might be bold enough to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment—or even better, to look directly into his eyes, to catch a glimpse of his love and recognition: “You are my beloved sisters and brothers!” Every year millions of pilgrims travel to the Holy Land just to touch the places he touched, just to walk in his footsteps. But to see Jesus in the flesh! What could compare?
We probably know the answer, because of a sacramental encounter the people in today’s reading could never have imagined. We have the chance—in fact, we are invited—to partake of our Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist. In this time of eucharistic revival, when we are encouraged to open our minds and hearts, and invite others to open their minds and hearts, to this incredible gift, we don’t need a time machine. All we need are eyes of faith.
Today I pray with deep gratitude for the opportunity to encounter my Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I pray that as many as touch him in this way will be healed.
Richard Reece is a writer and retired magazine editor. He is former editor-in-chief of Catholic Digest magazine and of NC Catholics, the magazine for the Diocese of Raleigh