TOUCHING GOD

Fr. John Kha Tran

Three men were traveling to the lake for a fishing trip. Many topics of discussion came up as they drove along. They began talking about their funerals and what they would like people to say about them when they were gone.

The first guy said, “I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor, and a good husband and father.”

The second guy said, “I would like to hear that I was a wonderful teacher who inspired kids to do great things.”

The last guy replied, “I would like to hear them say, ‘Look! He’s still alive!”

Had you ever been standing and looking at the body in an open casket and felt as if the body was moving?

Desire for Life

None of us wants to die. We want to live. We want to stay alive. When we get sick, we want to see doctors for remedy. We want to be treated and get well again. Several of our parishioners have been fighting with their cancers. They have been treated with chemo and radiation. One is going to have surgery this week to cut part of his cancerous colon. We want to do everything we can to protect our life. In less than two weeks, however, I have buried four men in our parish. One died at 82 and the others were in their 60s. We don’t want death. We want to prevent death. 

Last week the U. S. Supreme Court voted to uphold the nation’s new Affordable Healthcare Act or the Obamacare. The nation is trying to figure out ways to promote health and to take care of our life. There is lot of debate going on around the nation on healthcare. It seems to be very expensive; it is going to cost a lot of money. We want all Americans to be covered. Although everyone will be covered with healthcare, we cannot avoid death. We know our death is approaching. We cannot run away from death. No matter how much we pay for healthcare; no matter how sophisticated medical technologies become; no matter how advance the medicinal treatments can offer us; and no matter how much we pay to take care of our health, we are going to die one day.  So what can we do?

We don’t want death. No one wants to die. God doesn’t want us to die either. We are seeing and hearing about death every day. Die young and die old. Death is a horrible experience. We often hear people question, “Why does God allow this to happen?” “Why doesn’t God do something to prevent it?”

Source of Death

The first reading from the book of Wisdom says, “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.” Death is the consequence of the original sin. The last verse of the first reading tells us the cause of death, “By the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.” If we want to avoid death, we should avoid the devil. Adam and Eve listened to the devil and death enters the world. So the first thing to do to avoid death is to avoid the devil. Don’t listen to the devil. And secondly, to avoid death we must have faith in Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus Christ will prevent us from death.

Touching God

It is important to pay attention to what Jesus is saying in the Gospel reading today. He asks his disciples, “Who has touched my clothes?” His question does not make sense to the disciples. Many people are surrounding Jesus. People are pressing upon him, it would be impossible to say who is touching his clothes. Many people are in contact with him. Many are touching his clothes. But Jesus is not saying about clothes’ touching. He is talking about soul touching. He is talking about supernatural or spiritual touching. Many people are in the crowd, but only one woman is touching Jesus. Only one woman is touching the power of God. Only one woman is touching the heart of the Son of God. Jesus is feeling the touch.

This makes us think. We are doing many religious things. And I wonder how often we are touching God. Is God feeling your touch? We pray. We come to Mass every Sunday. We receive Holy Communion. We take Jesus in our hands. We eat his body and drink his blood. We physically touch him. But how many of us are touching God’s heart? Is God feeling your touch? We only experience true spiritual life and healing when we touch Jesus’ heart.

The hemorrhaging woman believes in Jesus’ divine power so much that she is convinced all she needs to do is to touch his clothing in order to be healed. She strongly desires to touch Jesus. Her touch is a touch of faith. She feels it. And Jesus feels it. It is not Jesus’ clothes that heals her. It is her faith. Her faith has the power to touch God. Her faith has the power to move Jesus’ heart. She touches Jesus’ heart and she experiences life.

The healing of the woman and the miracle of restoring the life of the daughter of the synagogue official prove that Jesus has the power of life. Neither universal healthcare coverage nor sophisticated medical technologies could save us. Only Jesus has the power to heal and to save us from eternal death. He has the power to give us eternal life. We can experience God’s power when we touch God’s heart with our faith. Make an effort to touch God and you will live.