God has visited His people. (Luke 7:16)
God was pleased to reveal His Son. (Galatians 1:15-16)
You may recall that we left a particular question hanging last week. Yes: Almighty God exists. Yes: He has the prerogative of initiating and sustaining a personal relationship with us, by revealing Himself to us. If He exercises this prerogative, then religion ceases to be something that human beings make up. It begins to be a matter of obedience.
For the past month, we have been considering the question: Who do we really trust?
In almost all cases, we do right to insist on some proof of reliability whenever someone tries to claim our attention and credence. But when God speaks, it’s different. The Word of God carries its own proof. God does not mislead; He does not lie. We trust implicitly everything that God says, because God says it. The truth of anything He says dwarfs our minds. If its truth is not clear to us now, it will be eventually. We trust God more than we trust ourselves.
So, in honor of this Year of Faith, let’s clarify this one important point: When we profess our Catholic faith, we do not simply say, ‘God exists.’ In fact, we can deduce that God exists, because it’s the only solidly reasonable explanation for where everything came from.
To be precise, then: What we believe is God’s revelation of Himself. He has revealed Himself to be one God in three divine Persons. He has revealed Himself by becoming a man Himself. We believe that this man is God. We believe that Jesus’ Father is God, that Jesus’ Spirit is God. In other words, we believe in the divine love of God; we believe that the love of Jesus is the Almighty Power.
To believe our Creed is the beginning of our obedience to God. We obey by believing the mysteries God has revealed about Himself. This is faith, faith strictly speaking. We cannot deduce that a man is God. We cannot deduce that His human Heart is the human heart of the Almighty.
Christ’s great works, especially His resurrection, help us to believe that He is God. The mysteries of Christ’s life show us the works of God. But to see God in Himself—to experience Christ’s Personal blessedness ourselves—we have to wait till heaven for that. In the meantime, we believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation. We trust, even though we can’t see it.
Congratulations, then, dear brothers and sisters! After some pretty serious effort, we have reached the heart of New-Evangelization Trust. We absolutely, positively, indubitably trust that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We absolutely, positively, indubitably trust that Jesus is God.
Nothing could be more evangelical than this trust we have in God’s revelation of Himself. We would sooner doubt that the sky is really blue than we would doubt that the Nazarene speaks the truth. We would more likely wonder about up really being up, or down really being down, than we would wonder whether God is really our Father, like Jesus says He is.
We come to church, listen to readings, snooze through sermons, receive sacraments, strive to follow the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Church—we do all this, because we have this trust. We trust that Jesus is alive in heaven, having fulfilled everything that human life is about. He is our God, and He Himself offers worship to the Father in the Holy Spirit.
Here’s an analogy: When I was a child, I would hop into the car with my dad whenever my dad said it was time to drive somewhere. That’s what children do. Children don’t wonder, ‘Should I get into the car driven by my mother or father, or should I not?’ No. Getting in the car with mom or dad or both is a part of the life of a child. You get in the car and go. Total trust.
That’s the way we trust. Our Christian life is the car. Jesus Christ is the driver. We get in and ride and never hesitate to believe that He knows how to drive and where He is taking us.
Now, we still have one question hanging fire, though.
When we profess our faith here in a minute, we will refer to specific events of history. Jesus, Mary, Pontius Pilate: three names of people who lived on earth a long, long time ago. How long ago? Right!
So, okay: We stand in church. Every week we speak about things that happened, which involved these people who lived on the other side of the world two millennia ago. And we absolutely, positively trust that these things we say about Jesus, Mary, and Pontius Pilate are both incontrovertibly true and fundamentally important.
Any reasonable person would ask us: How in the world do you know anything about this? I mean, really: You stand up and solemnly assert things about these obscure people who lived in ancient Palestine, and you carry on as if these were the most important events that ever happened anywhere…I just want to know: How is it that you have come to know anything whatsoever about this Jesus, Mary, and Pontius Pilate in the first place?
Good question! We’ll wrap this topic up next week with an answer.