JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD BELIEVE

We have just completed the 12 days of Christmas, a celebration of our God sharing in our humanity in everything but sin over two thousand years ago.  Maybe it’s because it is so long ago that some people have forgotten or just don’t care about an event that happened so long ago.

Remember in the Old Testament how long people waited for God’s covenantal promises to be fulfilled. God never abandoned His people in Old Testament times, nor us today.  Sometimes His people would walk away from Him like we do today.  But He is still present and involved with His people.  God promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Deut. 31;8) God is present in Scripture, in the Sacraments, and in the inspiration of His Holy Spirit.

God allows evil in this world but never wills it.  Sometimes, the evil he allows brings a greater good, like conversion, reconciliation and forgiveness.  What some perceived as a shameful death of Jesus became our lifeline to eternity.

When we separate ourselves from God where does God go?  Maybe He stands to the side, maybe in back but always close by with the same anticipation of the Father of the prodigal son. God never abandons us.  Only, we can separate ourselves from God.

I am reminded of the famous poem by Francis Thompson, “Hound of Heaven,” which begins:

I fled Him down the nights and down the days I fled Him down the arches of the years, I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears I hid from him, and under running laughter.

Up vistaed hopes, I sped and shot precipitated from those strong feet that followed, followed after But with unhurrying chase and unperturbed pace, Deliberate speed, majestic instancy, They beat, and a Voice beat, More instant than the feet: All things betray thee who betrayest me.,,,”

I see in this poem much hope.  The great Father of the Catholic Church, St. Augustine said. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

God is not finished with anyone.  We may have a loved one that concerns us that they may be on a wrong path as we see it, but God is the Great “pathfinder” His tracking skills are unmatched, omniscient, and omnipotent.  We must pray for others that “they may see” like Blind Bartimaeus. (Mark 10:46-52)

When people dismiss or ignore God’s immanence (activity) in this world they ignore His graces and support for times of stress, grief, despair and also the inspiration to pray for their neighbors in need.

Miracles are a sign of Jesus’ divinity and a snapshot of the Father.  Jesus said, “Whoever sees me, sees the Father.” (John 12:45) What is God the Father like?  He is like Jesus, kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving and just.

Even today, people of little faith will blurt out, “It’s a miracle,” without much insight that they are confirming that God is active in human history still today.  Did God just retire to some far away place after Old Testament and New Testament times? I think not!  Why would He do that?  He has a lot invested in us, a very complex, salvation plan evolving over centuries, the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, and promises that have not yet been fully realized.

Perhaps there are not as many miracles as in Jesus’ time.  We just don’t know.  But our generation has been called a “faithless” generation.  Jesus who worked many miracles around Galilee could not work many miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith.  The townspeople even tried to throw him off a cliff.

Faith opens doors to “divine action” Look at faith of centurion.  ” When he entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply,* “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed….When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel* have I found such faith.”

(Matthew 10:5-10)

How about the faith of the woman with chronic illness, who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.

She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”  Jesus turned to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” (Mark 5:25-34)

Jesus said if we had faith of the size of a mustard seed we could move mountains.(Matthew 17:20)  Remember the message of Gabriel to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.” And don’t forget Mary’s response, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Prayer, reading Scripture and listening to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit strengthens our Faith.

Jesus said, when the Son of Man returns will he find faith on earth?  (Luke 18:8) Will He???

Why faith in existence of God is reasonable to believe even in 21st century..

What else do you take on faith in your daily routine? i.e.that when you flush the toilet it won’t overflow..  That you won’t fall and break your leg on the way to your car…that there is a road to take you to your destination…that your destination exists…that there won’t be a terrorist attack along the way or an earthquake…that your family will still be there when you return…and so fort

How is faith in God any less reasonable than the daily leaps of faith we make.  And it is a lot more risky not to believe in God who we will all meet as we move on to the next life.  This world is not all there is and thank God that is true!

In conclusion, let’s say you encounter a person who doesn’t believe in God but is willing to talk about the possibility.  I am talking about a sincere seeker of the truth not someone who stubbornly insists that there is no God and just playing games with you to trip you up. With that kind of person, heed Jesus’ advice, “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”  Say a little prayer for that person, and move on.

Here is a question you may ask someone who is really sincere in considering the possibility of God. Ask that person, will you grant me that anything in this world came from something?  If nothing comes from nothing then something must have existed before all other things.

Every being that exists or ever did exist is either a dependent being or a self-existent being. Not every being can be a dependent being. So there exists a self-existent being, a something. We call that self-existent being, God, who had no beginning and has no end. This is similar to the First Cause argument of St. Thomas Aquinas.

It is a start.  I know it gets a lot more complex because for most non-believers, it is disagreement on who God is.  There you have to be prepared to tell them who God is to you and why.  You can ask them who God is to them and why.

One place you probably never want to start is with the triumphalism argument that the Catholic Church is the only way to go.  You certainly may tell them what about your faith brings you comfort and hope and that you are open to discussion.  Good luck and remember to pray for all that they might embrace God and be saved!

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PRAYING THE PSALMS

PSALM 94

 

Rise up, O judge of the earth;

give the proud what they deserve!

How long, LORD, shall the wicked glory?

How long will they mouth haughty speeches,

go on boasting, all these evildoers?

 

They crush your people, LORD,

torment your very own.

They kill the widow and alien;

the orphan they murder.

They say, “The LORD does not see;

the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

 

Understand, you stupid people!

You fools, when will you be wise?

Does the one who shaped the ear not hear?

The one who formed the eye not see?

 

Does the one who guides nations not rebuke?

The one who teaches man not have knowledge?

The LORD knows the plans of man;

they are like a fleeting breath.

 

For the LORD will not forsake his people,

nor abandon his inheritance.

Judgment shall again be just,

and all the upright of heart will follow it.

 

Who will rise up for me against the wicked?

Who will stand up for me against evildoers?

If the LORD were not my help,

I would long have been silent in the grave.

 

When I say, “My foot is slipping,”

your mercy, LORD, holds me up.m

When cares increase within me,

your comfort gives me joy.

 

No, the LORD is my secure height,

my God, my rock of refuge,

Who will turn back their evil upon them

and destroy them for their wickedness.

Surely the LORD our God will destroy them!

 

 

 

 

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