Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time - Reason Rescued by Faith

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone´s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her." Jesus said to them, "Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled."

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for bringing me to you in prayer. Open and raise up my mind on the wings of faith. I believe that I can grasp you working in my life, even when my reason fails to comprehend. I trust your gifts of light and inspiration. Help me to savor your contemplation more with my love than with my reason. 

Petition: Raise up my faith, Oh Lord!

1. Clever Rationalism When it comes to arguments, reason alone is capable of convincing and very clever “proofs”. The Sadducees’ powers of reason were fully employed in making their case, just as so many Christians reason their way into one more of a thousand new Scripture interpretations and churches each day. But something is missing. If man were God, his intellect would be sufficient. But since man is NOT God, his intellect is limited. The things of God go far beyond the powers of reason. Reason must proceed carefully, under the tutelage of faith. Reason, working from the premises of faith and within the boundaries of faith, can be of great service in the things of God. Do I separate reason from faith in questions of truth and morals? Is reason an excuse for me to reject or “protest”, dissent and justify what goes against the teaching of the Church and faith? In what ways do I foster a spirit of rationalism in my life?

2. The Logic of Faith How does Jesus respond to this objection of reason? He wastes no time in piercing through to its faulty source: “You do not know the scriptures or the power of God.” Without faith, we will always misunderstand Scripture and the power of God, reducing them to our own poor dimensions. Anyone who bases himself on reason alone to understand God and his affairs cannot help but end up creating for himself a god to the measure of his poor mind. Faith allows us to distinguish between the order of this life and that of the next, where we will find, like angels, a perfect union with God, of which union marriage is only a distant shadow and symbol. (see Ephesians 5:21-33) How do I apply faith to what makes little sense in my life: sufferings, difficulties and challenges? Or do I crucify God’s truth on the cross of my ideas?

3. God of the Living Once reason is rescued by faith, we can, like Jesus, make valid arguments from Scripture itself. We break out of the poverty of the human condition. As long as he is our God, and we belong to him, we are alive in him. Thus not only does resurrection make sense, but so does God’s presence in my life despite my struggles, confusions and even falls. Forgiveness becomes more real, for it brings me back to full life in him who continues to be my God, the faithful friend who never abandons me. Is this the God in whom I believe? What areas of my life have not yet been surrendered to my faith?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, increase my faith; make it penetrate every dimension of my life. Free me from the tyranny of my proud reason. Heal it with the light of faith so that I will know and experience your presence in my life. Help me seek your will in all things just as Mary did, embracing the cross with trust.

Resolution: I will take my next frustration or suffering to prayer and apply a generous dose of faith.

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