1 John 5:14-21
I’ll never forget the little sign over the altar that read, "Expect a miracle." It hung in a made-over parlor chapel of the "Teen Challenge Center" located in an old mansion on Chicago’s South Ashland Avenue. Fr. Joe, C.P. had heard about this David Wilkerson, a pastor of a small church in rural Scottdale Pennsylvania, who in 1958 read an article in Life Magazine about teen gang members killing each other in New York City. Using the Cross, Rev. Wilkerson decided to bring the Good News to these gang members. Nicky Cruz, leader of the Mau Mau gang later became a minister and wrote his own life’s story "Run Baby Run" because of Rev.Wilkerson’s work. It was a miracle!
David Wilkerson’s work spread to Chicago, and Fr. Joe coaxed me that day in 1970 into accompanying him to see what this Teen Challenge thing was all about. I was one of Fr. Joe’s high school CCD teachers.
In today’s Gospel Mary expects a miracle. I love Mary’s boldness and confidence when she simply tells her son, "They have no wine." She doesn’t discuss the issue when Jesus responds, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." She simply tells the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." As we all know, Mary got her miracle.
I remember expecting a miracle in my own life. I was a relatively new life insurance agent, in my third year of business. I had presented a proposal to an owner of a rather large business domiciled in Chicago with offices all over the world. I was truly out of my league. If he bought the policy, my commission would be more than double what I had ever made in any single year of my life up to that point. I got the business underwritten after two years of going back and forth with my prospect and the insurance company and called to deliver the policy. Ray, my prospect (not yet my client) said he had been thinking it over and he didn’t want the policy. I remember simply telling him, he couldn’t do that without letting me come to his office one more time to review the plan. If he still didn’t want it then, I wouldn’t bother him any more. He allowed me to come to his office, bought the plan and I made all that money. It was a miracle.
In today’s scripture selection, Mary teaches us how to live our lives. Expect a miracle and not just in the major issues in our lives, like spreading the Good News of the Cross, but even in the relatively unimportant things like having enough wine or making a living.
Dan O’Donnell is a Passionist Partner and a longtime friend of the Passionists. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.