In the creation, we read that God had created everything, but, “there was no man to till the ground.” (Genesis 2:5 LXX). God Himself had created this beautiful creation, and then chose to create something to care for His creation, man. Similarly, when He became incarnate, He chose to do so as a human child, from birth, thereby allowing others to tend to His well-being, to care for Him. This is important for us to realize, that both in the initial creation, and in the new creation, that God has always used men to exercise His powers. It’s important to realize that because, after His ascension into heaven, He had established His Church to fulfill this role. Rather than individual men, it is the Church itself which He uses to exercise His power.
Here, we see two such examples. First, we see Ananias and Sapphira. A married couple who had sold their land and promised to commit the proceeds from the sale to the Church. And yet, they had allowed Satan to fill their hearts with greed and deceit, breaking the trust and integrity of the Church. Notice, however, that their sin was not withholding the money itself. Peter expressly states that the land that they possessed was theirs from the beginning, and that even after the sale of such land, the money was theirs. No, the sin was not the money or the sale, but rather the dishonesty concerning the withholding of the money. It wasn’t that they sold the land and desired to keep a part of the money, it was the fact that they had promised all of the money to the Church and then withheld a portion of it. And Peter equates this dishonesty not to lying to the Church, but rather lying to the Holy Spirit Himself. “You have not lied to men, but to God Himself.” Their sin was not the desire for money, but rather the hypocrisy of saying one thing and then doing another, of promising to God that they would do something, and then not following through on it. It was the sin of offering to God “lip service” while their lives reflected something completely different.
Secondly, we see many believers bringing the ill into the streets, hoping that even the shadow of Peter walking through the streets might touch them, bringing them healing. This again shows the power of God working through His Church. See, God alone has the power to heal, yet He has chosen the Church as the means through which He will tend to His creation. The power of God rests in His Church, which He established to do His work. He Himself tells us, “whoever believes in Me, the works that I do, He will also do,” and those works extend beyond mere philanthropy. Yes, Jesus fed the poor, He helped the homeless, but He also performed great and many miracles and cast out evil spirits. And we can never neglect these mysteries in our lives, even though they may deny our human logic.
The Lord continues to work these miracles through the sacraments of the Church, which He Himself established to be His beacon of light in the world. Consider that self-help can help one quit smoking, willpower alone can overcome addiction, but only the power of God working through the Church can bring about the miraculous.
In my local parish, recently, there was a two year old who had gotten into her grandmother’s purse and eaten a bunch of her blood pressure medicine. Word spread immediately, and through the parishes prayers and intercessions, this child, whom doctors stated “if she makes it 24 hours, she’ll be okay,” was up and playing within two hours. That is the power of the miracles of our Lord. The hopelessness of the doctors saying “if she makes it 24 hours” became the joy of the Lord, of her being a two year old again, in the span of a few mere hours. This could only have happened through the power of the Lord, working through the Church, who literally dropped whatever they were doing to entreat the Lord in fervent prayer for her recovery.
May we all recognize that the Lord does perform miracles, and those through the Church, which is the power of the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ, all working in synergy. May we not neglect that the Lord performs miracles, and does so through His Church, for the salvation (healing) of all mankind.
Christ is in our midst.