I Had to Go to Her Funeral, the Dome Told Me
By Father John Slampak, STL

A Bible skeptic was asked to be a visiting lecturer at a seminary. To test the students’ faith he told them that, in Hebrew, the word for “red” as in Red Sea, could be translated as the word “reed.”

“So,” he triumphantly concluded, “It is unlikely that pharaoh’s army drowned in the Red Sea. They were probably in a reedy area, a swamp, with water shallower than a typical bathtub.”

“Praise God for another miracle!”

“What do you mean? There was no miracle. Pharaoh and his army were simply going through a swamp, a few inches of water.”

The student, replied, “Well, you may be right. But just think, God drowned all those Egyptians in two inches of water. It’s a miracle!”

Everyone sees miracles differently, whether you’re under the dome, or not. In an upcoming Gospel’s miracle story, all agree that something wonderful, something life-changing, did happen. You have to get behind the miracle itself, butterflies or not, to see what was really going on.

Jesus had just heard that his cousin, John the Baptist, suffered a horrible death. He decided to go to a private place to be alone; to grieve, to think, to pray; to get himself back together.

The crowds pursue him (pro-active), wanting his attention, his healing touch, his blessing. What does Jesus do? When he “... saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, he cured their sick.”

Even in his own exhaustion and grief for his dead cousin, Jesus made time for others. In the face of a hungry crowd, needing food, (there were no Golden Arches nearby) Jesus does not turn away. He remains in the midst of the situation. His compassion was a kind of food for them, which nourished people’s souls. It is a food that keeps on feeding long after the actual food     has been consumed.

A follower of Jesus must be a person of compassion, multiplying his message of care and love for others. There are times when we need to be compassionate as Jesus was, at times from a distance, but also present, involved, actively committed — unlike two men paddling a canoe who hit a rock causing a huge hole at the front end.

The man at the front end started paddling furiously toward shore. “Come on, help me out!”

The other man says, “Why should I worry, the hole’s not at my end.”

When one person is hungry, we are all, in effect, hungry. When one person goes without, we all go without. When asked to help, check in on others, if formerly selfish people now begin to share, to care for one another, if people who ignored each other before, now care, that change of heart is a miracle.

Christ is willing to give himself, to expend himself as much as possible, to heal, reach out and teach. As he does, even as people are fed, spiritually and bodily, you discover that, with Christ, there is always something left over ... more to give.

Now where did the dome go with all the stuff?

Are you willing to work with God to help make a miracle happen in your life or the life of someone else?