Sunday, June 6, 2010

On stalled vehicles and miracles

Sunday: June 6, 2010

It was 6AM yesterday morning and I had to drive my teen-aged son to a CFC-Youth For Christ event where he assists in organizing. We have not gone even 1 kilometer on the road when the engine sputtered and conked out. My son just took a cab from there as the vehicle refused to start again. Luckily it was not so far away from our house as I had the vehicle towed back for the short distance, where the mechanic can attend to it later.

Today's Gospel narrates the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Lk 9:11-17). I have come across some speculative rationalizations of this story which insinuates that the five loaves and two fishes were not actually multiplied to feed five thousand, but instead the multitude were moved to the effect that they unselfishly shared together the food that each had kept so that everyone could eat. However, such speculation has no basis in the sacred texts, even as we reference the narratives in all the four gospels. While it is a laudable thing to teach that one must share one's goods charitably with neighbors, it is ungainly to suggest that an actual miracle did not take place in this instance just to emphasize the value of human generosity. After all, Jesus already taught liberally about sharing one's blessings may times elsewhere (e.g. if you have two coats, give one to your neighbor who does not have one), and to dismiss the miracle of multiplication in favor of emphasizing man's capability for generosity misplaces the point of the story: the Love and Majestic Power of Jesus.

We do have unquestionable faith in Jesus' power to change water into wine, heal the crippled, raise the dead, calm the storms, and most certainly we should reserve the same unquestionable faith in Jesus' power to multiply bread and fish. All of these miracles happened exactly as they were told. In this Sunday's holy observation of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, we likewise profess our unquestionable faith in the greatest expression of love and miracle for all time: Jesus' Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Yesterday's incident with my stalled vehicle upset me for a while. Then I recalled that I drove the same vehicle over the recent weekend to an overnight beach outing with the entire clan where we traveled a total of more than 350kms without a hitch. The family vehicle worked like a charm then, and I realized that it was a good thing that it broke down only yesterday under harmless circumstances. Had it happened when our entire family were on that long trip, it would have ruined our weekend holiday. Now that I think about it, the chances were about 350 to 1 in favor of the vehicle breaking down on that holiday trip. So I guess we just happened to be spared from the normal laws of that dreadful probability, but then I remembered we all prayed just before the trip.

God is good.

No comments: