Reflection for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time.
My Dear Good People,
Today I’m reflecting on miracles. The Gospel for this Sunday refers to the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes–a great miracle–but there have been many highlighted in the past few weeks’ Gospels, and we are surrounded by miracles these days in Tokyo–and heartbreak, too!
Ah, there’s the rub. Miracles so often come about after heartbreak: a tragic accident, a critical illness, a shattered dream. Then suddenly there is a new and unexpected outcome that seems to be an absolute miracle. Many of us have had at least one in our lives, I suspect, and we can often say it was an answer to prayer.
What is it about our God that He permits us to experience heartbreak and then appears to ‘change His mind’ with a turn of events that leaves us gasping with surprise and joy?
Well, I don’t have an answer to that question, but I know He does it. Sometimes. Or should I say, sometimes we see Him performing a miracle for us. The truth is, He is constantly doing great things for us, but we don’t have eyes to see–not necessarily because we are blind but because we are subject to the limitations of our finite human nature. Maybe days or even years later we find ourselves saying, Now I know why God let that happen! Look at all the good that came out of that moment, or event or accident!’
Don’t we have a mysterious God, hard to understand? Like children who can’t figure out why their parent won’t let them do this or have that, we ask questions when things don’t turn out the way we had hoped. We wonder, What ever was God thinking? We don’t mean it disrespectfully, but we question the way things happen in our lives, and it takes the faith of a giant to be able to trust that God knows what He is doing–unless He works a miracle that opens our eyes wide and we sing Hallelujah!
What does all this mean for us today when we so need miracles to straighten out our world, the pandemic, the weather, the economic muddle and all the many things that keep us awake at night? I propose that it means that this is really God’s world, and we are in it because He knows and loves us and wants us to know and love Him in return. While we’ve all made mistakes that confuse things, we certainly aren’t responsible for everything that needs a miracle to fix! But we are held so gently, so safely in the Hand of God that it behooves us to rejoice that, in the end, He is bigger than anything in our lives, and one day we will understand–one Eternal Day, that is.
In the meantime, let us recall the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel:
Just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy.
Be still and know.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I am God.
– Psalm 46, 10.
That in itself is a miracle.