It’s obvious: those who love “the best” simply imitate Him “the most.”
Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
The Ascension of Our Lord
(Click here for readings)
St. Paul was not only a holy man. He was a brave man. I think he had two goals in his short life: to conquer Rome and Athens for the Lord. Today’s first reading (Acts 17:15,22-18:1) recounts how Paul walked around Athens looking for a small crack in this stain glass city. He found one in a temple that had an altar with the inscription that read: “To an Unknown God.”
I find the timing of this reading enlightening and a bit amusing, for not too long ago, someone was commenting to me that God is an unseen and unknown entity. Their right. Their absolutely right, if one does not know Jesus Christ. You see, my dear friends, there are people even today who believe that God remains unknown and unseen.
When Paul saw their inscription, he immediately jumped on it. He told them “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious.” He was correct. They were seeking to know the unknown God. They were seeking answers to their questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the goal of life?
There is a limit to human understanding. There’s a limit to how far I can reach. Most of the greatest discoveries ever made were made sitting on top of the shoulders of others. Yes, there’s a limit as to how far I can reach. I can always use a helping hand. I can always hope to reach out to an extended hand. Leonardo da Vinci understood this.
Now there are a lot of things that we can measure. But some things, some of the most important things, remain outside the realm of measurements.
What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. This is how St. Paul began his discourse to the wise and well versed men of Athens. Starting from the very beginning he worked his way towards Jesus Christ, the known and seen God of the Universe.
Again, I find it somewhat annoying yet always amusing how some people, especially atheists, continue to argue against Jesus Christ by bringing into their argument other gods; and typically exotic, archaic or even mythological gods. They fail to see any differences between Jesus Christ and these gods, something that many converts throughout history actually succeeded in doing.
They fail in this because they fail to study any of this.
What these people attempt to do (in their attempt to ridicule religion in general), is comparable to someone trying to ridicule science by bringing to the surface every far-fetched scientific theory. If you are my age, then most likely you remember studying the theory of Pamspermia in science class. Do you remember it? Well, you’d be hard pressed to find Pamspermia mentioned in your child’s text book. Now no scientist has been able to disprove Pamspermia. But it just doesn’t sit well with most, and most scientists (I believe) would prefer not to discuss it at all. And although it remains one of many theories as to how life originated on earth, it remains a dormant theory. May one day it may be resurrected, but today, it just doesn’t sit well with most scientists.
There are many myths and religions today that appear only on Google. They are, for the most part, studied only in school and ritualized only in class projects. Most of them remain dormant. There have been attempts to resurrect them, but most have failed to rise from the dead. Most countries allow freedom of religion. But far too many, especially in the Middle East, remain closed to the possibility of religious freedom and even conversion.
St. Paul spoke. The Athenians listened. They had their ideas. Paul had Christ’s ideas. They had their theories. Paul had his personal experience. He told them what they already knew and what they didn’t knew. In the end, he convinced them. They didn’t convince him.
God is not “everywhere and nowhere.” God is very present and transcendent. God is not a force. God is very personable. He speaks. He listens. He converts. He convinces. He endures the test of time. He welcomes human reason. He welcomes critics. He even embraces them.
Jesus Christ is not Quetzalcoatl. He is not a unicorn. And when someone begins to argue with you in that manner, politely ask them to explain these gods to you, and what they stood for and what they represented. Ask them to explain them to you personally. No Googling allowed. Let’s see what happens next. Hopefully, they will ask you to share your belief with them. And there’s so much to share.
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