Faith – The Miracle Worker

Blessed Mother Teresa with a happy, armless baby, photo by Eddie Adams of AP

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Deacon Dick Kostner

What stood out for me with today’s readings is the fact that even though we have entered and begun “Ordinary Times” in our Church calendar, that since the Incarnation there does not exist anything that is “Ordinary” in our lives anymore. Miracles appear everywhere and everyday if we but possess the mustard seed of faith. Jesus has taught us that faith as small as a mustard seed will allow his followers to heal those who are ill, will allow us to accomplish supernatural tasks and move mountains that are not physically or humanly possible to move.

My mind journey began when I heard Deacon Matt’s homily on Trinity Sunday and how God has gifted those who have been baptized with supernatural abilities through membership into the family of the Trinity. Through the Sacraments we enter into a unitive state of being one in spirit with the Creator. A state of being where we communicate spiritually with the Trinity and God’s plan to make us one in thought and vocation with him.

Our gospel tells us that the key to life now and forever is “faith.” Jesus has shown us and told us to pick our friends carefully and listen to them. Follow their teachings to see miracles happen before our eyes. Let me tell you three stories about people of great faith who most of you lived with and know by name who have accomplished supernatural tasks through faith. Two are Christmas stories. The first involves Cecelia.

Cecelia and I were friends and she many times would tell me how much she enjoyed my homilies. Her and her sister were friends of my mom and were golf buddies. Cecelia was a daily Mass person and a person of prayer. She was very much concerned about the struggles the Church was having with its ministers and she would ask my advice on things that bothered her. When I had no good answer to the problems she would say, “I guess I will have to pray harder.” When I heard of her death on the Sunday before Christmas I was saddened and knew that I needed to attend her funeral to pray for her and say goodbye to her. The next day, Fr. Victor asked if I would do a Communion Service as he had three funerals scheduled for that week.

On the way to church that Monday, I was listening to Phlash Phelps on Sirius 60 Radio and he told how when he was a young boy his parents had invited their pastor to join them for Christmas Dinner. Phlash said that as a child he was in charge of putting the angel on the Christmas tree by using a hook pole to elevate the angel to the top of the tree. At Christmas dinner the Pastor had asked him what he liked most about Christmas and he responded proudly, “Getting the hooker to put the angel on their Christmas tree.” His parents turned very red and all had a good laugh over his response. I thought to myself, Cecelia would have loved that story and after the final blessing I shared that thought and story with the daily Mass people as a farewell to Cecelia.

That afternoon I began getting thoughts from Cecelia that were asking me to do the homily for her funeral. I called Father and told him that I could do that if he so desired. He was more than happy as he had two other funerals to do for that week. As I was preparing my homily, I thought about how Cecelia and her sister always got into it and argued and I had made the comment that Jesus would have to put up with the “girls” arguing at his birthday party and would have his hands full keeping them in line.

That evening, I received a call from her niece who said she very much enjoyed my homily and that she had been with Cecelia the day that she died. She shared with me that just before she died Cecelia had said, “I think it is time now for me to join my sisters and Jesus for Christmas.” The niece said that she asked Cecelia who Jesus would listen to more with all the “girls” being present and pressuring for recognition from Jesus? Cecelia answered: “The one who is the loudest.” I told Father about this when I told him that I believed we had just buried a Saint. Knowing Cecelia I am sure Jesus was gifted with the hooker story on his birthday that I had gifted Cecelia with at church that day.

The second faith story is about Kathleen when she died some years before on Christmas Day. I had been called over to her home by the family to do some prayers for the family that Christmas evening. Kathleen was one of my original RCIA ministers when I began that program at St. Paul’s and I was well aware of how strong her faith was in Jesus. The family shared with me that she had been dying for many days and the family kept telling her to not worry and that it was OK for her to leave and join Jesus for his birthday party. Her response was, “I know but I just want to savor this time and I will not leave until after we enjoy our customary Christmas meal.” Right after they had eaten she passed. I told her niece that I believe we were blessed with having lived with and prayed with a saint.

The final faith story is a story my cousin Bishop Bob told me about Mother Theresa. Bishop Bob was Bishop for the Diocese of San Diego. Mother Theresa had scheduled some dental work to be done on her mouth and while visiting the area she met with Bishop Bob and asked him if he would drive her around to look at some houses she was thinking about acquiring in the area to set up a new Home for the poor. He agreed and after looking at one house she said to Bob, “I like this one let’s take it.” The bishops’ jaw dropped. Now you need to know Bob is not a person who just jumps into a situation and he explained to her that the house was very expensive and it would take some time to raise the funds necessary to purchase it. Her response was to smile and say, “Oh Robert, you have such little faith!” She reached into her pocket and produced a small medal of Mary. She instructed him to place the medal over the door of the house that she wanted, and they left.

That Sunday, Bishop Bob introduced Mother to the parish and told of her plans to purchase a house for the poor in the area. He indicated that they were planning on a fundraiser in the parish to accomplish this task. After Mass Bishop Bob heard a knock on his door and a lady appeared saying she had been at Mass and heard him talk about raising money to purchase this house that Mother Theresa wanted. She proceeded to take out her checkbook and said, “What is the cost of the house?” He told her and she proceeded to sign a check for the entire amount. I can only imagine the look on Bob’s face of “little faith.” I am sure you too will be able to see and experience that with the faith of a mustard seed anything is possible, even moving a mountain, and that fear will never be able to overcome faith’s power.

Before I began to write this homily I said Morning Prayer and this statement appeared: Ephesians 4:3-6. In closing I share this scripture statement with you:

“Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: