Has A Mission To The Poorest Seen Miraculous 'Multiplication'?
By Michael H. Brown
We live at a time that has seen miracles stunningly similar to those in the Bible. There have been healings (as there were healings in Jesus' time) and apparitions (as He experienced an apparition of Elijah and Moses). The lame have walked. The mute have spoken.
Now, according to a Jesuit priest in Texas, we can add the multiplication of loaves. That's what he says has been happening in and around his mission in El Paso, Texas. According to Father Richard M. Thomas -- who for more than twenty years has organized mission work to impoverished Mexicans and Mexican-Americans -- he and those who work in his mission have encountered the inexplicable multiplication of food on dozens of occasions. It has occurred at a jail they visit. It has occurred at a place known as The Lord's Ranch. It has occurred as they have fed poor families that scavenge at dumps.
"The fall of last year was the last time I recall," says Father Thomas. "Actually there were some people who got it on film. We didn't know it was multiplying until later. Nobody knew until later, when they counted everything up, figured what they had, and what they did with it."
It was a small example. They were serving ham and cheese sandwiches. The woman who brought the food used two loaves of bread, wrapping each sandwich in a napkin and serving them at a clinic. "She had made 26 sandwiches, and when she got to the clinic she gave six or seven sandwiches to volunteer workers, and then started passing them out to the mothers, who were there to get milk for their children," Father Thomas tells us. "I was standing right beside her and she told me she wasn't going to have enough sandwiches. But 26 mothers got sandwiches and she'd already given some away and when it was all over she still had sandwiches left over. As they were driving back to their house they gave more sandwiches away to poor people on the street."
At other times, the "miracles" have been larger. Most of the time the alleged "multiplication" occurs almost imperceptibly, says Father Thomas, who compares it to the unfolding of a rosebud. "It's like the blooming of a rose," says the priest, now 74. "Mostly it's low-key, not dramatic. It's happened with a number of different people. Most of it has happened when I wasn't present."
It has also happened with more than just food. Father Thomas recounted the time they were constructing a short-wave antenna and they were short several long steel bolts. "There were a number missing," says the priest. "I don't remember if we were four short or six short. They came by freight and they laid them all out on the floor. Apparently the package had been broken in transit." Somehow, however, the missing ones materialized. "We went out the next day and there they were," says Father Thomas, "all laid out on the floor in the right number."
There's no drum roll, says the priest. "It's not very dramatic. God is subtle. But there was no question about it." He says that the Blessed Mother has been seen in vision by some of the people, who have reported the aroma of roses.
On one occasion Father Thomas says he was aware of the "multiplication" as it was actually occurring. "We were visiting the jail," he says. "It was the week before Easter. We were giving the prisoners a special Mexican dish, bread pudding, and as we were giving it out, the lady told me there wouldn't be enough because they let prisoners out of cells that held 75 or 80 of them."
The prisoners kept "coming and coming" and yet the bread pudding was not diminishing. Neither was the lemonade -- even though it had already been tipped over to get the final three or four cups. "These prisoners just kept coming and coming but we knew God was multiplying bread pudding," says Father Thomas. "Everybody had a paper plate heaped up with bread pudding, and we were also giving them lemonade. All the prisoners got all the lemonade they wanted. This went on for half an hour. And we all realized what was happening. We could see there was no end to the lemonade she could get out. Then we gave it to all the police and guards -- all they wanted, more than we planned. After no one wanted any more, there was no more left."
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