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A sermon on John 14:1-12

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Fr. Mike Paraniuk

By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church (Hillsboro,
St. Benignus Catholic Church (Greenfield),
Saint Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union)

One of the greatest sorrows is to say goodbye to a close friend. In John Chapter 14, Jesus is telling his closest friends He would soon be leaving. They felt deeply troubled. 

Have you ever felt troubled that Jesus is not with you? Jesus offers comfort. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). "I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:3). 

Until Jesus returns, He assures them the works of God will continue. "The Father who dwells in me is doing his works." (John 14:10.) What is the work of our Father? It is this. The Father sent Jesus to reveal who God really is. God is love who restores, heals and saves humans. Jesus used miracles to prove this.

We all need restoration. God's greatest restoration is when Jesus restored us to eternal life by defeating Satan on the Cross. Everyday living shows we still need God's work of restoration. The road of life is strewn with so many broken bodies and broken hearts. Do not lose hope. 

The Bible shows God continues to restore us, to heal and make us whole today. God takes His work of restoring very seriously. The word "restore" appears 136 times in the Bible. This Bible verse is very comforting: "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Peter 5:10.)

I firmly believe that God uses miracles today to reveal His Love when you need it the most. God uses miracles to show He still works to restore and repair your brokenness.  Miracles are supernatural events that come from God. A member of St. Mary invented a neat name for miracles. He calls them "God winks."  

I have been blessed to be part of so many God winks that heal a hurting child of God. Permit me to share this powerful miracle.

Many years ago, I befriended an older married couple who lived around the corner from my apartment in Batavia. I was not in the seminary at that time and somewhat lonely as I just moved there from Pittsburgh. I spent many wonderful Saturday evenings with Charlene and Bruce in their home, eating, imbibing and playing old records of 1940s big band music. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Charlene's daughter at one of those dinner dates. She was very close to her mother whom she needed. Becky had recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her broken body led to a broken heart as her husband decided not to love his wife in sickness. He divorced her. Charlene's love and faith in God saw her through as life crumbled around her.

After her mother's passing, Becky was strong enough to care for herself, but she missed her mom deeply. Becky's big regret was that she had no pictures of her mom who graduated nursing school from Good Sam Hospital during WW II. Charlene eventually became head nurse at Good Sam. God rewarded Becky's faith in a wonderful way. He worked a miracle. 

One day I was antique hunting at the Riverside Antique Mall on U.S. 52. I walked through the door where I saw a box of old picture frames with photos. A large, framed, vintage graduation collage caught my eye. The inscription read "1943 Graduation Class Good Samaritan Hospital Nursing School." 

Could Charlene's picture be there? I studied it carefully, looking at every face. I could not identify Charlene's face with complete certainty, but I found Charlene in that photo without any doubt. How did I know this to be her?

I saw her maiden name which I jokingly told Charlene sounded like an Italian food.  CAMOLLI.

I bought the photo, called Becky and told her I must see her immediately. "I have a gift for you." I left Becky wondering. When she opened the door, I was holding the photo in front of me. I said, "Your mom is giving this to you from beyond the grave." 

Becky burst into tears as she beheld the photo of her mom dressed as a young nurse. She said, "I know this is from mom. You don't know this, but today is my mom's birthday!" 

Wow. This has to be a "God incidence" not coincidence.

The finding of this photo restored Becky's resolve to fight her disease, which was progressively growing worse. She believed God and mom were working together to heal her. I do not know if Becky is still with us. But I do know on that day God gave her a miracle of hope that she did not carry her cross alone. Be alert and ready because God may use you to be His miracle. 

"Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do."

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