This incident of course is not the first time that a miracle or apparition has been alleged to have taken place. Just a few suburbs over from the above-mentioned church is a regular suburban house that has supposedly been weeping oil from the walls for close to ten years following the premature death of the resident family’s teenage son. While the family stills lives in the house, it has become a virtual shrine adorned with images of Jesus, Mary and the saints; there have even been reports of the oil curing those who make pilgrimage to the house.
And indeed there are apparitions in contention right across the world. These are in addition to the more venerable and approved apparitions such as those of Fatima and Lourdes.
It may appear then that good Lord and his Mother are kept extremely busy turning up all over the place; if you believe absolutely all the news, Jesus also made himself present to a lady in Newport, Minnesota, via a potato chip.
While I am happy to declare my belief in the person of Jesus the Christ, I just don’t feel the same way about the seemingly endless parade of miracles and apparitions which more often than not take away from the actual Christian message. In case we hadn’t noticed, Christianity is currently going through its fair share of struggles. In a growing age of secularisation, nations and philosophies that were once founded in the Christian faith are falling like dominoes. And Christians themselves are often at the fore of the problem; they have become weak in faith and conviction. The Christian message is in need of authentic and bold proclamation. The last thing the faith needs is the secular news media given further opportunity to mock the faith and all things sacred when well-meaning individuals share aloud that that the Most High God has appeared to them in their home, or even worse, in their snack food.
Of course, if Jesus wanted to appear in any of the aforementioned places he could. If one can create the world and keep it in existence, every other challenge must seem fairly mundane, but that is not the point. The Christian faith details that the Father sent his Son to earth and in doing so Jesus taught his message, worked miracles, founded a living Church, died on a cross and rose again. That is the whole story. Revelation is complete and not in need of anything further. Jesus came to earth not just for the people of that moment in time but for the people of every moment in time. The faith has been handed on now from generation to generation for 2000 years, and each person has the freedom to weigh up the evidence and choose to believe it or not.
Perhaps Jesus and Mary do appear to modern-day individuals, but these are not incidences necessary for salvation. Most believers could probably share a moment when they believed God was “speaking” to their hearts but these are moments to help their own faith. The only miracle that should be shared and proclaimed is the authentic deposit of faith preserved by the Church for 2000 years. Let us not hope or expect for more. As Christ himself said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Copyright 2015, Bernard Toutounji
Image: Caravaggio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons