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09/06/15 Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr Reggie

Fr. Reggie

St Mark includes a puzzling observation towards the end of today's Gospel passage.

He writes that Jesus ordered everyone to keep this amazing miracle under wraps, not to spread the news, not to talk about it.

Why would he do such a thing?

Was he shy? Was he fearful? No, he was simply wise. Jesus knows the tendencies of our fallen nature. He knew that too many reports of miracles and prodigious events would lead people to think of him merely as a wonder-worker. They would feed the impression that he had come to create paradise on earth, that his Kingdom was merely a really good earthly reign.

And Jesus didn't want to give that impression.

He wanted more time to explain his vision, to convince people that the Kingdom of God went far beyond politics and economics, touching people's hearts and bringing them back into communion with God, putting them on the path to eternal life.

His miracles were not the goal of his ministry, they were simply signs of credibility, confirmations of the truth of his teachings, invitations to trust, obey, and follow him.

In order to give himself time to explain this, he discouraged his followers from spreading news about the miracles.

But it didn't work. The more the crowds heard about his wondrous deeds, the less - it seems - they understood them. This became clear at the end of his life: although many people had been willing to be cured by him, few were willing to follow him to the cross. Even his closest disciples, the Apostles, denied or abandoned him during his passion.

Today one of our Lord's miracles has been replayed for us in the liturgy.

There is another kind of sign that is even more powerful.

And although not all of us can perform miracles, all of us can give this second kind of sign, the sign of ourselves. We are Christ's followers: we are Catholics, members of his true Church, his messengers. Every one of us is a living billboard for the Gospel. Day after day, by showing forth God's goodness and power through our example of responsibility, respect, patience, forgiveness, dedication, and concern for those in need, we are providing evidence for Christian hope that cannot be written off by a skeptic, the way miracles can. We ourselves are meant to be living signs of God's goodness and power in this fallen world. We are called to be Christ's ongoing, long-lasting miracles. This doesn't mean that we're perfect. Rather, we just have to strive each day to be faithful to our friendship with Christ. If we do that, he will shine through us even when we are not aware of it, spreading his light and warmth to the spiritually handicapped all around us.

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