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Faith and Reason
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 Gospel Reflection
Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples. When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Many Christians take God’s existence for granted. They say, “God is obviously the one who made everything, so there’s no real need to peer closer into the mysterious, invisible realities.” However, if there was no need to prove the existence of God, Saint Thomas Aquinas would not have written extensively on this topic in his Summa Theologiae. As Christians we are called to “be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” (1 Peter 3:15)
When Jesus entered the temple and began teaching, the people started to question where this information, this wisdom, was coming from. Was this a revealed theology by their Creator or was this a smart man speaking on his own authority? For the Jews, God was their Creator and to speak and perform miracles pointed to Christ being something other than the flesh and blood that they possessed. They had questions and rightly so!
After 2,000 years of theological hindsight, we can turn to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and answer the questions that plagued the minds of the Jews. “The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.” (CCC 464)
Our job as Christians is to be “all things to all people” as Saint Paul wrote to the Corinthians. We are called to action and to show we are Christians by our love; however, because we live in a broken world where truth will always be condemned, we also need to be steadfast in faith and reason. As Pope Saint John Paul II wrote:
“The Church is no stranger to this journey of discovery, nor could she ever be. From the moment when, through the Paschal Mystery, she received the gift of the ultimate truth about human life, the Church has made her pilgrim way along the paths of the world to proclaim that Jesus Christ is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). It is her duty to serve humanity in different ways, but one way in particular imposes a responsibility of a quite special kind: the diakonia of the truth.1 This mission on the one hand makes the believing community a partner in humanity's shared struggle to arrive at truth; 2 and on the other hand it obliges the believing community to proclaim the certitudes arrived at, albeit with a sense that every truth attained is but a step towards that fullness of truth which will appear with the final Revelation of God: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully” (1 Cor 13:12).”
Today, I am going to Richmond to participate in the Walk for Life. This is a Christian action showing that I support life, but just as importantly, I am walking with the knowledge that God is the source of all created life. I know this through faith and I know this through reason. God did not cause all things to come into existence and step back to watch it all unfold. He is actively causing all of existence, and if at any moment he stopped, all of creation would cease to exist. This is why I can confidently say that every single life is ordained by God and we must continue to acknowledge this and stand humbly steadfast to the truth.
 Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter on the Relationship Between Faith and Reason Fides et ratio (14 September 1998), §2.
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