Are Jesus and Mary appearing today?

Share on email
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on reddit

The mainstream media in Sydney was recently abuzz at the report of a number of parishioners from a local Catholic church claiming to have witnessed the lips on an icon of the Virgin Mary moving during Mass. The video, which was filmed on a mobile phone camera by a worshipper, has since been seen hundreds of thousands of times and has attracted, understandably, very mixed commentary. The parish priest came out at the time and clearly stated that if anything did occur it was “a personal experience” and not to be misunderstood as a public miracle.

This incident of course is not the first time that a miracle or apparition has been alleged to have taken place. Just a few suburbs over from the above mentioned church is a regular suburban house that has supposedly been weeping oil from the walls for close to ten years following the premature death of the resident family’s teenage son. While the family stills lives in the house it has become a virtual shrine adorned with images of Jesus, Mary, and the saints; there have even been reports of the oil curing those who make a pilgrimage to the house.

Yet topping both of these in the contentious miracle stakes is without a doubt the alleged apparitions which began in 1981, with six children from the small town of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina claiming to see the Virgin Mary, not once or twice, but continuously for the past thirty-four years. The messages have been seemingly worthy ones, calling for people to undertake more prayer, fasting and penance. And while the site attracts more than one million visitors a year – putting it just behind the Church-approved apparition sites of Fatima and Lourdes – it seems that after many years of investigation the Vatican is set to reach the conclusion that the apparitions of Medjugorje are inauthentic.

It may appear then that the good Lord and his Mother are kept extremely busy turning up everywhere from suburban Sydney to European farming villages and, if you believe absolutely all the news, Jesus also made himself present to a lady in Newport USA via a potato chip.

While I am happy to declare my belief in the person of Jesus the Christ I just don’t feel the same way about the seemingly endless parade of miracles and apparitions which more often than not take away from the actual Christian message. In case we hadn’t noticed, Christianity is currently going through its fair share of struggles. In a growing age of secularisation, nations and philosophies that were once founded in the Christian faith are falling like dominoes. And Christians themselves are often at the fore of the problem, as they have become weak in faith and conviction. The Christian message is in need of authentic and bold proclamation, the last thing the faith needs is the secular news media to be given further opportunity to mock the faith and all things sacred when well-meaning individuals share aloud that that the Most High God has appeared to them in their home, or even worse, in their snack food.

Of course if Jesus wanted to appear in any of the aforementioned places, He could. If one can create the world and keep is in existence every other challenge must seem fairly mundane, but that is not the point. The Christian faith details that the Father sent his Son to earth and in doing so Jesus taught his message, worked miracles, founded a living Church, died on a cross and rose again. That is the whole story. Revelation is complete and not in need of anything further. Jesus came to earth not just for the people of that moment in time but for the people of every moment in time. The faith has been handed on now from generation to generation for 2000 years, and each person has the freedom to weigh up the evidence and choose to believe it or not.

Perhaps Jesus and Mary do appear to modern day individuals but these are not incidences necessary for salvation. Most believers could probably share a moment when they believed God was “speaking” to their hearts but these are moments to help their own faith. The only miracle that should be shared and proclaimed is the authentic deposit of faith preserved by the Church for 2000 years. Let us not hope or expect for more. As Christ himself said to Thomas, “You believe because you have seen me, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”.

Copyright 2015, Bernard Toutounji

Image: Caravaggio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bernard Toutounji

Bernard Toutounji

Bernard Toutounji is an Australian Catholic writer and speaker. He writes a fortnightly column called Foolish Wisdom ( which examines afresh issues within news, culture or faith. One of Bernard’s favourite quotes comes from Edith Stein who said "All those who seek truth seek God whether this is clear to them or not". Bernard is married to Jane and they have two daughters.

Leave a Replay

7 thoughts on “Are Jesus and Mary appearing today?”

  1. Avatar

    On the other hand, the future Pope Benedict XVI, as Cardinal
    Ratzinger had a very different perspective on this matter. In his theological
    commentary on Fatima he quotes the Catechism:
    “…even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made fully
    explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full
    significance over the course of the centuries” (No. 66). He then adds this
    comment: “The way in which the Church is bound to both the uniqueness of the
    event and progress in understanding it is very well illustrated in the farewell
    discourse of the Lord when, taking leave of his disciples, he says: “I have yet
    many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of
    truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his
    own authority… He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare
    it to you” (Jn 16:12-14). On the one hand, the Spirit acts as a guide
    who discloses a knowledge previously unreachable because the premise was
    missing—this is the boundless breadth and depth of Christian faith. On the
    other hand, to be guided by the Spirit is also “to draw from” the riches of
    Jesus Christ himself ….” Thus, from the Cardinal’s words, we can understand that this is true because Jesus himself is the Word of God, and therefore everything has been revealed in him, but as the quote shows, the Spirit draws from the completed revelation in the Word of God
    and makes it explicit to us as the history of the Church continues in history.
    Thus the future Pope adds: “In this context, it now becomes possible to
    understand rightly the concept of “private revelation”, which refers to all the
    visions and revelations which have taken place since the completion of the New
    Testament.” Clearly, the Popes have given
    great importance to private revelations that have taken place such as the
    Divine Mercy, Fatima, etc., but the Pope here is also talking about lesser
    known apparitions which have been officially approved such as Our Lady of All
    Nations, Akita, Kibeho, the apparitions of Maria Esperanza, and others as well
    whether they are approved or awaiting approval – for Our Lady of All Nations it
    took 50 years! Moreover, various private revelations have imprimaturs given by
    the Church, and these too fall in this same category. Thus, the Church’s view
    of this matter is very different from yours.

    1. Avatar

      Why not? When Mary wanted wine at Cana, Jesus told her that his time had not yet come, but then, God in his mercy granted the miracle. God is not a machine — he listens to us and responds.

      1. Avatar

        Well, if you want something from modern times you can look up “Zeitoun Mary Halo” on an internet search. There you can read the police report about Mary appearing on the top of a church for a number of months before crowds in the tens of thousands in Egypt. Since it is a police report, these men were putting their jobs on the line, but they had to admit that there was no possibility of fraud and in fact Mary was appearing on top of the church. There are also a number of photographs of her on top of the church and she moved as well like a living person. Since the Christians are a persecuted minority in Egypt, something like this was a great encouragement to the people. Thus it is both important and contemporary.

      2. Avatar

        This looks silly pointless and vague. It also seems that no one has looked into it in any detail. This emphasizes my point; why would an omniscient God perform such a pointless miracle?

        Police reports do not necessarily add credibility; police have occasionally consulted psychics.

      3. Avatar

        You should consider that the police were working in a Muslim country, You say that “no one has looked into it in any detail” when the livelihood of these policemen depended on finding a a satisfactory (scientific) explanation for what happened. I think it is obvious that they know much more about it than you do sitting in front of your computer. Moreover, since the Christians have a history of being persecuted in Egypt, anything that reinforces their position would hardly be considered pointless by them. I am afraid that your objections are not logical.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

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

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit