I didn't have a text this week, so I don't know how long my homily was! (I don't know about other priests, but a text keeps me from going on and on and on...)
It was hard to come up with just what I wanted to say; it wasn't until late last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, that I developed what I aimed to do.
I posed--and answered--several questions about miracles, such as was described in the Gospel.
First, people wonder if these things really happened, or if the Gospel writers made up the stories. My answer is that the Apostles, who told us these stories in the Gospel, gave up everything, ultimately their lives, for what they proclaimed. Why would they do that for a lie? As Blaise Pascal said, "I readily believe those witnesses whose throats are cut."
Second, people wonder why miracles like this happen. My answer was that miracles do happen, more than we realize. I talked about the miracles that are documented through the intercession of those being proposed as saints, and I have witnessed things I can't explain.
I also said the problem is that no matter how many miracles the Lord performs, people don't change. What happened in the Gospels?
And I said: in our own time, God performed a miracle that the whole world witnessed. Really.
I recounted how, in 1917, Mary appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, and laid out how history would unfold in the 20th century, including a second world war, whole nations annihilated, and--that if people prayed for the conversion of Russia, there would be a period of peace. Then I pointed out how this prophecy was fulfilled--in the end of the Cold War without firing a shot--before the entire world.
The third question I posed was, I admitted, the hard one. Why doesn't God perform the miracles we ask for? Honestly, I can't recall all I said here, except that I somehow moved to the point that God didn't come to earth to perform miracles, but to change us. And that lies with us: will we respond?
This is where I wanted to make a point but I forgot: namely that when our Lord was on earth, he was always explaining that the main thing he would do is go to the Cross--and people were always fighting that idea. In other words, the transformation we look for will come through death and resurrection. No other way.
Along the way I mentioned the dear Little Sisters of the Poor who were collecting funds after Mass, how being part of their work would show us God's power at work.
I did make the point that God's power is readily available; in a moment, on the altar, God will perform a miracle right before us. If we're open to it. That's up to us.
If you were at Saint Rose today for 10:30 am Mass, let me know if I recounted this correctly!