11th Sunday after Pentecost 12.8.12 Back to basics
Because there are so many religions about people become confused and many end up saying that all religions are false, because they all contradict each other, and it seems no one knows with certainty what is true and what is false.
It is necessary that we be clear what we believe and to be reassured that we have very good reason for believing it.
Our religion is not just legend, but based on historical fact.
At a certain place at a certain time a certain man died on the Cross and shortly after rose from the dead.
Of all the things which have happened in human history why should we concern ourselves so much with one man who lived in Israel 2000 years ago?
A man like other men but on certain details very different. The most pronounced difference was that He proved Himself to be also God, gradually revealing this to His disciples; then rising from the dead to make the point fully.
He taught His apostles and gave them power, sending finally the Holy Spirit who would take them to a higher level, making them the fully operational Church - which then has the task of believing the things He taught and did; maintaining those beliefs; and then spreading them.
All of which stages we find difficult – the believing, the maintaining, and the spreading.
This is difficult because there is so much scepticism about, which attacks our beliefs and also is resistant to being converted.
But while there are many difficulties we can do much to strengthen our beliefs by going back to the basic truths elaborated by St Paul in today’s epistle (1 Cor 15).
It is as though St Paul is saying to the Corinthians: I will not always be with you but you have the teaching; go back to that.
These things do not change. The death and resurrection of Christ - two of the most important events in human history. They still apply, they are still relevant. In fact they have exactly the same relevance now as they had then.
Normally things lose relevance over time. If I told you that Julius Caesar has been assassinated or that Napoleon has invaded Russia you would not be likely to roll over in surprise. These items have lost their relevance because they are old events, not news.
But with the death and resurrection of Christ we could have the 6pm news every night and start with the latest trouble spots in the world and the latest sport, and put in there: Christ has died; Christ has risen.
It is not a new piece of information but in terms of relevance it is more relevant than all the other things.
We have heard it all before but we have to do it all over again: in that we have to regroup, and re-grasp the central mysteries,
So that our whole lives are based on union with this Man; so that every step be with Him, guided and strengthened by Him. It is no longer I that live but Christ who lives in me (Ga 2,20).
The world is flooded with news like never before but nothing can take away from the Good News.
How to spread it? If we believe it enough ourselves it will change our lives and that will be the witness to others. Nothing attracts a crowd like a few miracles, and the true faith lived out in real charity.
We believe all the truths which the holy Catholic Church believes and teaches. Our beliefs are not just vague ideals but fully applicable in our daily lives.
We have to be strong to be able to resist the errors of the age, the mockery of unbelievers; to be able to hold firm through our own personal crises; and then by our lives win others over.
All of which is hard but it is also manageable: if only we look in the right place for help; if only we refer back to what we were first taught and believed; and is still true.