A reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (2:1-5)
When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
St. Paul describes his ministry as more than mere words about Christ and him crucified, but a demonstration of the spirit and power of God in his message of the crucified Christ. We see no less than this same power of God today here in the Holy Eucharist. The mystery of God is openly revealed in this most Blessed Sacrament. But many miss the reality of His real presence, for many the essence of the Eucharist escapes them.
The prophet Isaiah says of such people: “Truly with you God is hidden, the God of Israel, the Savior!”
Just as the divinity of God was hidden in the human flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, both the divinity and humanity of Christ are hidden in the bread and wine consecrated to be the Body and Blood of our Savior and Healer. Christ stands humbly before us in the species of bread and wine as our Savior and Healer, ready to save and to heal us.
We want that healing for our loved ones and ourselves, we want what St. Paul proclaimed: “a demonstration of spirit and power.” But how do we see the hidden God in our times of need, how do our prayers touch the Christ hidden here in our plain sight?
St. Augustine answers that question with his words: Tangit Christum, qui credit in Christum. “He touches Christ who believes in Christ.”
Pope John Paul II’s Preacher to the Pontifical Household Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa further explains this:
“Do not open wide the mouth, but the heart,” St. Augustine said. “We are not nourished by what we see, but by what we believe.” Faith is necessary if one is to have a true “contact” with the body of Christ. This was also true during Jesus’ life. One day a woman approached him, certain that if she only touched the fringe of his garment she would be healed of her hemorrhage. Jesus turned to see who had touched him; the disciples quite rightly pointed out to him: the multitudes surround you and press upon you and you say: who was it that touched me?” But Jesus insisted: “Someone touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me” (Lk 8:45ff). It is one thing to touch Christ only with the body; it is quite another thing to touch him also with the soul. “He touches Christ who believes in Christ.” [Tangit Christum, qui credit in Christum.]
In the Eucharist also, it is only by faith that a spiritual, and not just a physical, contact is realized with Jesus and that divine energies are received, which emanate from his body. From contact with the Savior’s body the woman hoped to be healed from the flow of blood, and we, too, can hope to be healed from the relentless flow of vain thoughts, distractions, and all other spiritual hemorrhages.