Why is it that nobody with any credibility ever sees a miracle? I mean, think about it. Miracles are always seen by eight-year-old peasant children playing in the Spanish countryside or illiterate farmhands with local reputations for lively imaginations and a fondness for the grape.
They report sightings of saints and angels and blinding lights and weeping statues and other such phenomena with great regularity and reporters and church dignitaries flock in and scour the area for evidence of a divine presence, but they never find any. All they ever find is this eight-year-old kid who avers he saw the angel Gabriel and his six-year-old pal who swears to it.
Why don't these visions ever appear to, say, supreme court judges, electrical engineers, renowned physicists-or even you and me? If a man of some stature reported he'd had a chat with an archangel, I'd convert on the spot and renounce a life of sin and degradation and shout hosannas from the rooftops. And so would you.
But somebody's hired hand?
In fact, why don't archangels know this? If an archangel takes the trouble to appear at all, it's safe to suppose he wants to get some message across to the world or reduce sin and evil or something along those lines. Well, why appear to the village half-wit then? Nobody will believe the guy so the message won't get through.
Hey, if I can figure this out, why can't an angel dope it out, too? Any first-year marketing student could tell him to target his market a little better and aim for a credible messenger.
Maybe it's because there aren't any real miracles anymore. Most of them seemed to have occurred sometime around Moses and Noah back before we knew anything about science and the principles of mass hysteria. Still, a lot of bona fide miracles were recorded back then and few people today refute them.
Everybody knows the Red Sea parted for Moses, and even small children know how Jonah escaped from that whale in one piece. These have come down to us on the very best authority and are widely accepted even by agnostics and Hollywood film producers.
From all accounts, miracles were commonplace in those days. Many a citizen heard God's voice on a regular basis and weeping statues could be found in gardens throughout Christendom. (It is odd, though, that angels are never found in heathen lands.) Every general routinely called on the gods to intervene in the battle and make his own forces triumphant over the godless ranks of the heathen general on the other side-even when his opponent was a fellow Christian.
Whatever the case, the market for miracles has dried up of late. Oh, now and then somebody spots an image of the angel Gabriel on the side of a water tower or hears the odd voice coming down from the clouds, but we don't hear that much about them now. Maybe people are too busy for miracles, maybe we've been overwhelmed by the advances of technology and take miracles for granted today.
Okay, so somebody turns some water into wine. So what? We've got TV now. And gene-splicing. And H-bombs. And jet planes and moon rockets and robotics and computers and lite beer and millions of other unbelievable things that make almost any miracle seem pale by comparison.
The average archangel would be hard pressed today to come up with a concept that couldn't be topped in any science lab or decent magic act. Have you seen what guys like Siegfried and Roy could do with an elephant or a cage full of tigers? Believe me, those guys could make water into wine look like pretty tame entertainment.
Some say we're just too sophisticated now for miracles. After all, we're living in the 21st century and that's a far cry from biblical days or the Dark Ages when most real miracles took place. People are too blasé now, too jaded, too cynical for miracles.
Or maybe it's something else. Maybe the archangels and gods and saints that normally work miracles have taken a closer look at us and decided nothing can save us now and we just aren't worth the trouble anymore.
And maybe they're right.