There is an ambiguity which characterizes the signs and miracles of Jesus Christ. On one hand, the Gospels are filled with miracles. The way of Jesus is marked by wondrous happenings: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are made clean, and the dead resurrect. On the other hand, Christ is hesitant with the miracles. He multiplies the signs, but he does not intend to present himself as a miracle worker. He comes to bring salvation, not to work miracles. He avoids all sensationalism. He is decidedly against the spectacle.
If we look carefully at the Gospel, we can say that there are two things which are capable of eliciting miracles from him: The faith of those who ask, and the misery of mankind.
1. The faith of the one who asks. A faithful pleading face moved Christ. He was pleased by those who had faith and made sure to let it be known: “Woman, how great is your faith!” and “Let it be done according to your faith.”
2. The human misery. When Jesus encountered misery along the way, he was compassionate. A petition for his action was not even necessary. The presence of the pain was enough. Think of the tears of Lazarus’ mother, Christ responded immediately.
Many Christians long for miracles, as if their faith depended on it. They often miss the point that it is faith which brings forth the miracle, not the other way around.
There is also the other extreme. There are Christians who are afraid of – or almost ashamed of – miracles as if the supernatural didn’t exist. They try to reason everything and want to explain all things through the natural law. Their skepticism aims to keep God from being God. They forget that miracles are an expression of the freedom of God, who spoke the world into existence.
Miracles are the “sign” of our own faith.
The miracle that we must be more concerned with is the one manifested within ourselves. We must “become” miracles of charity, coherence, fidelity, mercy, generosity, and compassion. A “perverse generation asks for a sign.” They have the right to expect it from us who call ourselves Christians. What sign can we offer them? What miracle can we show them?
A response to the world around us.
Our way goes through a world which is hungry for bread and love. It is a world sick with disappointments. It is a world blinded by violence. It is a world devastated by selfishness. We cannot pass through this world limiting ourselves to telling others about the miracles of Jesus in the Bible. We need to also be able to tell about the miracles God has operated in our own lives. Our own everyday miracles of faith, love, transformation, and Christian life, are the most powerful testimony we can give our brothers and sisters who still do not know the Lord.
Questions for Reflection
1. What miracle of transformation can others see in me?
2. What do I offer those who are seeking Christ?
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Translation: Carlos Cantú
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