In today’s Gospel from the Mass (Luke 5:1-11), a powerful example of the awesomeness of Jesus is recalled: (more…)
These short 11 verses are packed with amazing meaning; during the next few days there will be additional posts of several of the amazing aspects of the Wedding at Cana. Today, the miracle of changing water into wine will be considered.
Many people have heard about Jesus’ miracle at Cana; a common phrase that most people know today is “changing water into wine”. What Jesus did has had lasting impact…people are still talking about it 2000 years later.
But sometimes, the miraculous loses its impact; “water into wine” becomes just a phrase to describe the unusual, not the miraculous.
Today’s Gospel from the Mass (Mark 2:1-12) offers a demonstration of the absolutely awe-inspiring way that Jesus deals with the evil/misguided enemies who seek to discredit Him:
And when he returned to Caper’na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home.  And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them.  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay.  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,  “Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question thus in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, `Rise, take up your pallet and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — he said to the paralytic —  “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.”  And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
To understand a little more of this incredible show down with the religious enemies of Jesus, consider: (more…)
 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa’ida, while he dismissed the crowd.  And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.  And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.  And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,  but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;  for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”  And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,  for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (more…)
The disciples get caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21) They see Jesus walking on the water.
Here is a picture to consider. Jesus really did this. Astounding.
The disciples get caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21) Why are the disciples, who are seasoned fisherman, afraid?
Entering into prayer prior to beginning to read and then deeply meditating on scripture can help bring them alive (Lectio Divina). A key way to engage the Gospels is to attempt to dig in deeply, attempting to put one’s self in the Gospels to get a better “eye witness” view of what is happening.
Today’s Gospel reading offers an outstanding opportunity to put the astounding impact of one of Jesus’ miracles in clearer focus. (more…)
“Christ-miss” in the Modern World
While the feast of “Christ’s-Mass” dates back to at least the 2nd Century, much of the modern world has lost sight of the mysterious and wonderful Advent of Christ. For many Christians, rather than renewal in Christ, Christmas is perhaps better described as “Christ-miss”. “Christ-miss” is celebrated with rampant consumerism, holiday gift-giving, family reunions, partying, vacations and perhaps even attending Christmas Mass, while “missing” the opportunity to renew their faith in Christ.
Like the slumbering world that missed Christ’s quiet birth in a Bethlehem stable 2000 years ago, many are sleeping during Advent, embracing “Christ-miss” rather than “Christ-Mass.” They miss the great miracle of Christ’s continued rule in the modern world; they miss the opportunity to draw closer to Christ and to experience His lasting peace and joy. Instead, in the deprived darkness of the modern secular “Christ-miss” world, people suffer in darkness, lost in the self-absorption of sinful addictions, lost in battles to promote sexual liberation, the killing of children and the control of the nation’s wealth, lost in transient relationships, broken marriages and the loneliness of going it alone.
The Advent of the Divine Child
Into this broken world, the Light of Christ continues to shine brilliantly during Advent. (more…)
At Eden, Man chose to abuse his freedom, distrusting God and seeking to “be like God” (cf. Gen 3:5). Since then, Man has suffered under the effects of Original Sin (CCC 396-409), which includes the embrace of personal sin and lives full of pain, illness, emotional suffering and death.
Humans have sought to alleviate suffering through modern medical advances to treat mental and physical illnesses. Modern psychology and psychiatry seek to treat mental illness with cognitive behavioral therapy and various medicines. Modern physical medicine has made great advances in treating all kinds of bodily illness through diagnostic technology, scientific treatment protocols, pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures.
Definitions : “Miracle” – Latin miraculum “object of wonder” and “marvelous event caused by God“. “Resurrection” – Latin resurrectionem “a rising again from the dead.”
1) Miracles before the Passion
- Jesus predicts His Passion and Resurrection – Jesus repeatedly predicts His Passion and Resurrection in the Gospels. In Matt 20:18-19, Jesus gives a highly detailed prophesy identifying his betrayers (Jewish priests and scribes), that He would be scourged and crucified by the Romans and rise on the third day.
- The Miracle of the Passover and Passion – Jesus chooses the place (Jerusalem, the Jewish spiritual capital) and the time (the Passover, the Holiest Jewish feast) of His Passion. This choice ensures that huge numbers of Jewish pilgrims will witness the Passion, pilgrims who will later spread the news about Jesus across the Mideast. By using the Passover (celebrated for over 1300 years) for His Passion, Jesus radically redefines what the Holy Day means by becoming the Paschal Lamb that was sacrificed to take away the sins of the world.
2) Miracles between the Passion and Resurrection
- God accepts the death of His Son – In the Incarnation, the eternal Word takes flesh and was “crucified, died and was buried” (CCC 571-630). It is wondrous that God would so love humans that He would descend, incarnate and accept human death to save us from sin/death (John 3:16).
- Christ’s death reconciles humans to God – “By His death, Christ liberates us from sin…” (CCC 654). The un-payable debt of sin, from the time of Adam, is paid as Christ dies, saying “It is finished” (John 19:30), a term that in Roman times signified the full and final payment of a debt.
- Jesus descends into Hell – Jesus, having died, descends into Hell to offer redemption to righteous people who died before the Passion (CCC 632-635). This mysterious miracle confirms the completeness of “Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places…”(CCC 634).
3) Miracles at the Resurrection
- His body is uncorrupted – Despite being dead for three days with massive wounds, there is no corruption/decay of His body (Acts 2:27, CCC 627). It defies human experience.
- He transcends human experience by rising from the dead (Matt 28:1-10 Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-31) – With the Father’s help, Jesus “effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power” (John 10:17-18; CCC 649). He is not a ghost (Luke 24:39). His Resurrection is not simply the reviving of a dead person like the other people whom Jesus raised (Luke 7:11-17; Mk 5:22-24; John 11:1-44) for all of them eventually died. Jesus’ Resurrection is “about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying…a life that opens us a new dimension of human existence.”
- His resurrected body is miraculous – The horrific physical wounds of Christ included serious face and head wounds, head wounds due to the crown of thorns, full body scourging (120 lacerations), dehydration, large nail holes in His hands and feet, being pierced through the heart and having no food or water for three days while in the tomb. One who didn’t die from these wounds would certainly be hospitalized for weeks. Yet, Jesus rises with a miraculously healed body, a body that still shows the wounds of the crucifixion (Luke 24:40) including a pierced heart (John 20:20) that again works. The Gospels don’t mention the horrific wounds of the scourging, the beating or the crown of thorns after the Resurrection, which apparently are not noticeable.
- His Resurrection opens up a new life for all humans – “By His Resurrection, He opens for us the way to a new life…[a] new life that is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s Grace…we too might walk in the newness of life…[and we] become Christ’s brethren.” (CCC 654).
4) Miracles from the Resurrection to the Ascension
- Jesus appears with His Resurrected body – Jesus’ “real body possess the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills…” (CCC 645). He can disguise and reveal His appearance at will (Luke 24:16; John 20:14,19). He can appear and disappear at will (Luke 24:31). He eats and drinks (Acts 10:41) and allows others to touch Him (John 20:27). On the day of the Resurrection, He walks about 6 miles to Emmaus, shares a meal and teaches for an extended period.
- Jesus reveals the fullness of Salvation History – At Emmaus, Jesus explains the meaning of the Old Testament to the disciples, filling them with awe (Luke 24:32). The Incarnation reveals that the hidden meaning of the Old Testament is the dying of the Savior for our sins (1 Cor 15:3).
- Jesus appears and interacts with many disciples – Jesus appears many times to many people including Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-16), Peter and John, to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the Twelve and five hundred disciples (and to Paul after the Ascension) (1 Cor 15:5-8).
- Jesus Ascends to heaven – After His Resurrection, Jesus predicts that He will ascend to heaven (John 20:17) and, after 40 days, miraculously ascends into the clouds (Mark 16:19; Acts 1:6-11). The stunned disciples then see two men in white robes who say, “Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
- Jesus sends the Holy Spirit – At Pentecost (Acts 2), Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26) is fulfilled.
 Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), xxii-xxiii.