ARE YOU FOR REAL?
In Luke’s Gospel (7 :19-23) John the Baptist sends some of his followers to question Jesus, because he is uncertain if the Lord is really the expected Messiah.
John probably held an opinion – perhaps also a requirement – on what the Messiah should be, and Jesus didn’t seem to fit the bill. So John’s disciples asked Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come or have we to wait for someone else?
A similar circumstance exists with the Medjugorje phenomenon. For some, there is a great uncertainty about the claims made about the Mother of Jesus appearing to six visionaries at Medjugorje. The ‘behaviour’ of Our Lady doesn’t match some people’s opinions and expectations. Daily apparitions and regular messages for nearly four decades are not what they expect from the ‘Gospa’. They find it hard to understand or believe possible. She’s not the mother they have in mind, or even in heart. Even Pope Francis has expressed his personal doubts about the ongoing apparitions at Medjugorje.
Jesus answered John’s question with a quotation from Isaiah, a passage that the Baptist would recognise and be familiar with. He said, “Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the Good News is proclaimed to the poor and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.”
The same response can be made for the Medjugorje phenomenon and, in fact, is made – by millions of witnesses to all they have seen, heard and experienced at Medjugorje. However, more recently, it was Pope Francis who despatched Archbishop Henryk Hoser to Medjugorje to ask questions and report back his findings. He did so and the Polish prelate returned to Rome with the same response Jesus gave to John’s envoys: the people are reconciling with God and his Church… the blind see again, the deaf hear, the lame walk and lepers are cleansed, the people are raised from the dead and given new life.
And if we need reminding about this correlation, we have only to remember the date when Our Lady first appeared at Medjugorje, June 24, 1981, the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist. It is not without a reason and a connection that Our Lady chose this date to come and proclaim the way of the Lord, the path to Peace, to a world in much need of peace.
The Birth of John the Baptist, 1485-89, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Tornabuoni Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence