My Friends in Christ,
With our human reason we can understand that there must be an all-powerful Creator. Sometimes we doubt this, but we think: since all physical creation has a beginning and an end – even the stars like our sun are contingent beings – then there must be a Necessary Being, an All-Powerful Creator who has no beginning and no end who holds all creation in existence.
We can observe that a small oak tree must come from an adult oak tree that has a higher power to produce acorns. We know that a car comes from a higher being, a human being with the power to create things. We reason that since physical things cannot come into existence on their own, but must have a higher cause to produce them, then there must be the Highest Cause, God the All-Powerful Creator who holds all things in existence by his love.
We also know from experience the law of stability within nature. For example, ice melts at 32-degrees Fahrenheit. Can you imagine if suddenly steel began to melt at that temperature? There would be chaos. But thank God, steel and all creation has a stable nature given by God. With our reason we can discover these physical laws, and we can also discover God’s moral laws given to we creatures who possess the power of reason.
For example, if we did not understand the stable nature of things, like the laws of gravity and aero dynamics, we would not be able to fly planes. And if we did not have civil laws that reflect the moral laws of God, like the law that prohibits people flying a plane or driving a car under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, then we would have many avoidable tragedies.
I do not think that anyone doubts what I have said. What some people doubt is that God is an infinite Mystery of Life, Love and Wisdom. They doubt that God is an Eternal Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit who wants a personal relationship with them through Jesus Christ.
Even in today’s Gospel we hear how the disciples went to Galilee, of which the Risen Lord Jesus directed them, but when they saw him, “they worshipped, but they doubted.”
This “doubt” comes after they had walked with Jesus Christ for three years, and witnessed his many miracles and acts of kindness. Although they saw Jesus crucified, three days later he appeared to them and continued to appear to them over forty days.
Jesus wanted them, and all Christian disciples, to move beyond doubt. We do this by asking appropriate questions, and then humbling accepting the answers that God gives us through his Catholic Church.
Sometimes I have doubted a teaching of Jesus’ Catholic Church, but not in any serious manner, or obstinate manner, which would be a sin. In other words, I did not stop worshipping Jesus until I had all the answers.
Like the early disciples I still worshiped Jesus, but I had questions, and then I trusted in what Jesus taught me through his Catholic Church because he said: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
These faithful disciples did their best to teach what Jesus taught. They kept the Church moving forward while waiting for the Holy Spirit to come down upon them at Pentecost to further enlighten them, and to guide them into all truth. We are called to do the same as we wait to celebrate Pentecost this coming Sunday and the full consummation on the last day when God will be all in all.
Can you imagine if the Apostles had said, “I am not going to teach what Jesus taught until I understand everything about it.” That would be a sign of mistrust of God. They would not be able to move the mission of Christ forward. Instead, they preached and taught and clarified things as the Spirit led them.
Similarly, we do not say “I will not take a car or fly in a plane until I know everything about it. How the steel is made, how the engine works.” Instead, we know the basic nature of a car and plane and we trust in the company that makes them. In time, we can learn how to drive them and how they operate, and clarify security measures. Let’s apply this reasonableness to the practice of our faith.
On this Solemnity of the Ascension, Jesus wants us to trust that he is truly God and the divine Head of the Catholic Church – the divine teacher and vehicle of traveling to heaven. This is our certainty of faith.
Christ the Lord wants us to live our Catholic faith and, by staying open to the Holy Spirit, teach it to others. In this way we can move forward in understand-ing our Catholic faith in order to fly with Jesus to the fullness of heaven, where our Heavenly Father awaits us.
Peace in Christ,