Miracles?

“I am not a miracle kind of a guy,” he said. Unapologetic. Direct. Clear. No expectation save reality as it unfolded. And so he waited and waits and deals with things as they come up, confronts the business at hand with an unremitting sense of responsibility and a stubborn desire to make things right. He places no blame save on his own shoulders, allows no pity, accepts consequences and protects privacy. And yet, in the midst of all the life lessons, he is far more than that, far more than the villain and no less the hero. For he practices kindness, lives in compassion and seeks to do the next right thing. Maybe, just maybe, he is the miracle himself in embracing the struggles and challenges and continuing to strive to be better. Maybe, just maybe, miracles are not the superstitious renderings of hope but the actual steps and actions we dare to take in our very messy, very ordinary lives. After all, miracles are the extraordinary, the inexplicable, the mysterious events that change perceptions, events, moments and memories. Miracles are the turning points in lives, the amazing and humbling shifts that seemingly have no real explanation.

The Miracle at Cana was a bit like that: Jesus rose to the occasion, the best of the wine savored last; his capacities and competencies on full display meant a change in his journey and in the percpetions of others about him. And while the story intimates his hesitancy and his mother’s urgings, it comes in the context of ordinary life events. Miracles are embedded in the ordinary and the familiar. They come in acts of kindness and moments of compassion, in the breathtaking vista and the gentle hands of surgeons, in the tender words of insight exchanged between persons and the strength of those who dare to choose life. Miracles are those instances that somehow make life better, the turning points that enable that to happen and the unexpected gifts that a day can offer. Jesus did that, and so does “I am not a miracle kind of guy” in the way he chooses to live. Miracles are the moments that enable humans to open capacities, experience and share comeptencies that may not have been there before. Sometimes, they will not be there again. But the readings for the day have a way of explaining that. In 1 Cor, the second reading, Paul writes:

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom;
to another, the expression of knowledge according to the
same Spirit;
to another, faith by the same Spirit;
to another, gifts of healing by the one Spirit;
to another, mighty deeds;
to another, prophecy;
to another, discernment of spirits;
to another, varieties of tongues;
to another, interpretation of tongues.
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these,
distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.

Gifts given to benefit others. It is far from supersititon, far from wishful thinking or the artistry of illusion. Instead, it is all about the carpentry work on living day to day. The possibilities are there. Maybe the “I am not a miracle kind of a guy” is on to something.

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