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Miracle of the sun

Some of the most courageous Saints that the Catholic Church has canonized were children. There are many brave children Saints who loved God and others so much, that they were willing to speak the truth, no matter the cost to them.

Even though these children may not have heard the story of the Prophet Ezekiel in today’s first reading, these young Saints knew that they had a mission like Ezekiel who lived in the Old Testament times.

The Prophet Ezekiel was appointed by God to tell the people to repent of their mortal sins before they died. God provided Ezekiel the grace and courage to do this out of love for them, that they might turn back to God and be saved.

We also hear that if the Prophet Ezekiel did not tell the sinner to turn back to God, then Ezekiel would be guilty of their death. However, if Ezekiel does speak the truth to them about the ways of God, then Ezekiel will not be guilty of their punishment and death if they refuse to listen to him.

It reminds me of the story of a brother and sister St. Jacinta and St. Francisco Marto of Fatima, Portugal. God chose these two children, as well as their elder cousin Lucia dos Santos, to receive messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is now known as Our Lady of Fatima.

The Virgin Mary appeared to these three children shepherds on the 13th of each month from May13th to October 13th, 1917. Some adults did not believe them when they said that the Virgin Mary appeared to them to tell everyone to turn back to God by fasting, praying and doing penance to end the violence of war. Yet, the children continued to share God’s message, and sacrificed for the conversion of sinners.

However, the Communists authorities of Portugal did not want people to turn back to God, but wanted to control the people, so they kidnapped the three children. Can you imagine being lied to so that you get into someone’s car, only to find out that they were driving you away from your parents? Children today know that you should never get into a strange person’s car, no matter what they say.

The Communist authorities were nice at first and tried to convince the children that they were only imagining that the Mother of Jesus Christ was appearing to them, but the children kept repeating the truth.

The authorities then tried to convince them to stop talking about it because if it is a lie, then they could end up in jail. But the children reminded them that God wants them to talk about it so that people can turn back to God and be saved.

After many attempts to convince the children, the Communist authorities threatened that if they ever wanted to see their parents again they have to stop talking about God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the brave children refused to tell a lie about God and the holiness that Mary was calling them to.

These evil adults tried to make the children lie about God. They kept using psychological torture on them, but the children trusted in God and Mary.

Finally, they separated the children from each other and individually told them that if they did not stop talking about God and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, they would never see their friends or family again. They then took a child away and made her scream.

Although each child was traumatized, they were strong in their faith and did not lie about God and Mary, the beautiful Mother of Jesus, who came to ask them to pray and sacrifice for sinners. God had given them the grace not to lie, but to tell the truth that people needed to turn back to God or be lost in the fires of hell. The Communist authorities relented and they finally re-turned the three children to their grieving parents.

These three children said that the Blessed Virgin Mary was going to perform a miracle for them on October 13, and so the Communists authorities, who did not believe in God, planned to be there. They thought that, since there is no God, there will be no miracle, and when there is no miracle then they would arrest the children.

These evil Communists arrived on October 13 at the apparition site, where the Virgin Mary told the children to meet her. It was raining for about three days so it was very muddy but by mid-day about 70,000 people had gathered.

Then the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the children and spoke with them. She told them that God was pleased by their prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. No one could see who they were talking to.

Some of the doubters in the crowd began to ask, “Where’s the miracle?” And then Lucia pointed to the sky. The dark clouds parted and the sun shone brightly, and then it began to spin and dance and radiate all kinds of colors!

Everyone was amazed and shouted with joy that they could look directly into the sun without hurting their eyes to see these marvelous things. But then the sun grew larger and larger, as if it were going to crash into the earth!

Many people fell to their knees and repented of their sins, others started to scream and run away as if it were the end of the world. But the children remained calm. They trusted in God and Mary, and saw a vision of the Holy Family in the sky – Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus – and then the sun returned to its normal place.

That October 13th, 1917, 70,000 people witnessed the miracle of the sun, which illumined many hearts with the fear of God so that they would repent of their sins and follow Jesus Christ in his Catholic Church in order to live in peace, and make their way to the perfect peace and love of heaven. God rewards courageous faith.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus Christ tells us that we need to be loving and courageous in telling people individually to repent if they have sinned against us. If that does not work, then we should bring two friends along to help find reconciliation and justice. If that does not work, then the third step is to go to Church authorities.

We read in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18, about how to be a courageous adult in the Church. At age 18 we legally become adults, which helps us to remember Chapter 18 of the Gospel of Matthew, of which we should have the maturity to follow this process of finding reconciliation and justice as an adult.

However, if we are younger than 18 years old, and someone sins against us in a serious way, we need to tell our parents immediately, and then maybe go to the police in order to bring reconciliation and justice to the situation. When we do this, we are acting like the Prophet Ezekiel, and the brave children saints who always spoke the truth for the love of God and the salvation of souls.

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Thomas McCabe


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