Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Reflection: Friday after Epiphany

(I Jn 5:5-13; Lk 5:12-16)

Saint Luke, in the Fifth Chapter of his Gospel (vs. 12 - 16), tells us of the miraculous cure of a leper, who when asked by our Lord what he wanted, replied: “If you want to, you can heal me.” Our Savior emphatically answers: “Of course I want to. Be healed.” Having cured the man, Jesus instructs him to go to Jerusalem and show himself to the priest as proof of his having been restored to health. Jesus tells him to make the required offering and cautions him to tell no one of this miraculous healing.

The Gospels tell us that in many instances of cures and visions those who were beneficiaries of our Savior’s power were told not to reveal them to anyone. Peter, James and John, who witnessed the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mount Tabor, were commanded by our Redeemer not to tell the vision to anyone until after His Resurrection from the dead. We might ask ourselves why.

Saint John Chrysostom and other Doctors of the Church in their sermons and writings offer the following opinion. Christ wanted the people to receive the truth of His message by the power of His word and their spiritual and intellectual acceptance of Him as the Son of God and the Promised Messiah. Too many were fascinated by our Lord merely because they saw or heard of miraculous cures or reports of crowds of thousands having been fed in deserted places by the multiplication of bread and fish.

During His crucifixion His enemies taunted Him mockingly: “Come down from the cross, then we’ll believe in you.” Didn’t they believe Him when He changed water into wine, cured lepers, restored sight to the blind, raised the dead to life, cured paralytics, expelled demons? Saint Bernardine of Sienna comments on this Scripture passage: “Even had our Savior come down from the cross, His enemies would have exclaimed: ‘What are you going to do now, so that we might believe you?’”

Secular magazines and publications take an almost imbecilic delight in reporting visions and miracles, the stranger the better, and the numbers of people who flock to these sites. The saddest thing is that the greatest miracle takes place in their parish churches where Christ renews at Mass the offering He once made of Himself on Calvary. In Holy Communion Christ Who called Himself “the living bread come down from heaven” gives Himself to His believers in this Sacred Banquet. He assures us: “I am with you all days.” He is present in our tabernacles; our churches are truly the house of God and gate of heaven. Our faith in the Holy Eucharist is solidly based on Christ’s own word. This is His greatest gift to us— this miracle of His love— the gift of Himself.

+ Fr. Adalbert Wolski, T.O.R. (1931 – 2012)

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.