Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

3/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Jesus' miracles are catalysts to awaken faith in those who witness them.  They are not performed for their own sake, but to draw people to belief in Christ.

Shepherd and his Sheep

Shepherd and his Sheep

Highlights

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/11/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Daily Homily, Year of Faith, Gospel of St. John, Faith, Miracles of Jesus, Healing, Signs and Wonders, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, St. Theresa Sugar Land


SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online) Some years ago, a priest related his account of an event that took place in his parish shortly after he was assigned there.  Prior to his arrival, the pastor had cleaned the interior of the church, including the stone trim around the niches sheltering the side altars.  When the new pastor arrived, he noticed that large numbers votive candles had been placed on the floor of the that area.

What caught his attention was that the candles were not placed in reference the altar or the image above it, but had been arranged to the side of the alcove.  His curiosity was piqued even further when he noticed small groups of people gathered around the shrine for prayer after Mass.  They were not directing their attention to the image of the Virgin Mary, but to something on the recently cleaned stonework. 

"Father, what do you think about all this?" someone asked as the priest walked by after Mass, on his way back to the sacristy. 

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Look at the stone, Father.  There's a shape that looks like an image of Jesus.  Is it real?  Is Jesus really appearing there?"

The priest thought about it for a moment.  Then he said, "What do I think?  I think that the devil would be very pleased with us."

"What do you mean, Father?"  The priest could hear the concern in the voice of his parishioner, who was a sincere a believing Christian.

"Well, thirty feet away from here is the tabernacle.  Jesus Christ is truly present there in his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  But here we are, looking at a splotch on the wall."

"Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe," Jesus says in today's Gospel (John 4:48).  Jesus isn't speaking out of frustration.  He is simply stating a fact.

At first glance, this may seem like something of a contradiction.  Jesus performed miraculous works in order to signify the coming of the Kingdom of God, to assert his identity as the Messiah, and as proof of the truth of his teachings.  Jesus knew that his miracles would attract attention. 

Indeed, Jesus wanted the attention that his miracles would bring, so that having captured the notice of the crowds, he might teach them the saving words of the Gospel.

Jesus' miracles are catalysts to awaken faith in those who witness them.  They are not performed for their own sake, but to draw people to belief in Christ.  In this sense, a wish for "signs and wonders" risks being no more than a search for a spiritualized form of entertainment, forgetful of Jesus himself.

The miracles of Christ "are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic.  Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 548). 

One of the lessons of this Gospel is that we should always be seeking Christ.  Even when we are asking for some favor or blessing, we do so in order to know Christ better: to know and embrace his will and to be strengthened in the spirit of discipleship. 

What happened in the parish that I mentioned earlier?  After making his final, somewhat provocative statement, the priest walked away.  In a few days parishioners lost interest in the "vision" refocused their attention where it mattered most, seeking Christ in his Word and in the Holy Eucharist.  Let us do likewise.

------

Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, TX, a suburb of Houston.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


A Meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus: My Heart to Gods Heart Watch

Image of

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, O burning furnace of divine Love, you are the symbol and summary of the whole mystery of our Redemption.  O mystery of mysteries, an infinite Love which no vessel can contain emptied itself into a finite human vessel of love-and so became ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Song of Songs 3:1-4
1 On my bed at night I sought the man who is my ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-2, 11-18
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Mary Magdelene
July 22: She is called "the Penitent". St. Mary was given the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter