Have you ever read the book, "Miracles Do Happen" by Sister Briege McKenna? It is a great little book that I have in my library at home, it's title could be "Miracles Still Do Happen" in that it documents multiple miracles which have happened in the not too distant past but it doesn't go all the way back to those contained in today's readings from Isaiah or the Gospel of Mark. My wife Janie heard those words a few weeks ago and it was a source of renewed hope in her battle with cancer. Today's readings document some miracles which happened back in the Old Testament time and one which Jesus performed along with a challenge in the Epistle of James for each of us to be instruments of God's miracles.

In our first reading Isaiah reminds the Israelites who are returning to their homeland after decades of exile in Babylon, that God is working in their lives and will work miracles on the behalf of those who need it most: the blind, deaf, lame and mute persons. In addition he assures them that they have no reason to fear, cheer up, in that God will provide whatever is needed to achieve peace and fullness of life and God will save them from their enemies and will open their eyes to the reality of what he is providing. Sounds like a great message for each of us in that we, just like the Israelites, sometimes miss the reality of what God is providing.

In our Gospel reading from Mark Jesus touched the life of one deaf man who could hardly talk by opening up his ears so he could both hear and speak. Jesus didn't stop touching the lives of people with his miracles recorded in the Gospels but rather opened the door for more miracles, touching the lives of millions the lives of millions through saintly people like Padre Pio, Saint Therese-The Little Flower and Mother Teresa, and even through seemingly unsaintly people like you and me. Jesus wants those miracles to continue to happen through each one of us. He calls each of us as Christians to be instruments of his miracles by not being satisfied with knowing our faith, the 10 commandments and the 7 sacraments and all the rest but by being willing to hear and by truly living our faith. Which means opening up our ears, loosening our tongues and opening our hearts to everyone so we can be instruments of God's love and instruments of healing.

The Epistle of James defines one of the ways we can be instruments of God's miracles. Let's face it. We all have our prejudices and biases. We all make judgments and stereotype people. We tend to like those who dress a certain way and act in a certain way. We are impressed with the successful and tend to be indifferent to those who are kind of plain or appear unfriendly. James calls attention to the way we tend to judge people according to the standards of the world. How do we follow James advice and "show no partiality"? How do we look at every person with dignity, respect and kindness"? The important thing is to reach out in love, find a way to lift a person up, lend a helping hand. Even a smile or a kind greeting can go a long way. Whenever we show kindness to anyone especially to the needy, we are saying, "I am not above you; I am one with you." We are imitating Jesus, who reached out to us in love and even became one with us. We are instruments of his miracles.

Always remember "MIRACLES STILL DO HAPPEN!!!"

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