Monday, July 18, 2011

Signs for the Times

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, ‘Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.’ He said to them in reply, ‘An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.’” Matthew 12: 38-39

Have you ever spoken with someone that didn’t believe in God, or miracles or the supernatural and the reason is because they have never seen a “sign” from God? Or you talk to people who are trying to discern God’s will and they won’t make a move until God gives them a clear “sign”? You know what? I think when it comes to faith, it is a gift and you either have it or you don’t. And I think that if you have it, then EVERYTHING is a sign that shows us the existence of God. And if you don’t have it then NOTHING will be seen as a sign of His presence or work in the world.

 In October of 1917, there was a miracle of the sun in Fatima, Portugal that was witnessed by over 100,000 people, including atheists and the secular press. The sun danced for 12 minutes in the sky and then came hurtling at the earth. People thought they were going to die. And then, just like that, the sun was in its normal place. The difference is that the ground which had been wet and muddy from three straight days of rain was instantly dry and the wet muddy clothes people had been wearing were instantly dry and clean.  And yet people still did not believe the story. And today you can go online and see web sites devoted to showing this miracle as a fraud.

In Italy, there is a church that holds the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ that was miraculously changed from bread and wine to actual human flesh and blood hundreds of years ago in the middle of a Mass when the priest doubted the Real Presence of Jesus. All of these centuries later the flesh and blood are still fresh and have not decayed and numerous independent scientific tests have been done on them, but yet people still do not believe in the Eucharist.

There are hundreds of stories of supernatural phenomenon happening to saints, from the stigmata (wounds of Christ in their own flesh), to levitation (people floating in the air while in prayer) to bi-location (one person being in two different places at the same time) to the incorruptible (saints whose bodies have not decayed even years and years after their deaths). And you can read about these events, that have been recorded and witnessed and tested and yet people still do not believe.

We even have modern-day Scripture “scholars” that spend their careers trying to explain away the miracles in the Bible. They say that things like the dividing of the Red Sea and Jesus walking on water have scientific or coincidental, not supernatural rationale behind them.

But who can argue with personal experience? Bl. Mother Teresa had a vision of Jesus that began her ministry to the poor. Bl. John Paul II was shot on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima and the bullet was miraculously guided through his abdomen without hitting any vital organs. I have seen several miracles like people being physically healed or brought back to fullness emotionally, mentally or spiritually. What miracles have you witnessed? A baby being born? Someone forgiving another? Watching a married couple love one another?  Teens worshipping God with their whole hearts, minds, bodies and spirit?

The signs are everywhere for those who have the faith, but we don’t need them. And they will not be given for those who claim they do, for they won’t see them anyway. May we all pray for the gift of Faith for ourselves and for others.

Dear Jesus, please help me to believe more wholeheartedly and unreservedly in You. May my faith in You and the way I live be the sign that brings others to seek the gift of faith You have instilled in me. Help me to always be grateful for this privilege of belief. Amen.

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