BELIEVING AND INVESTIGATING
April 24, 2011
This is the day that clinched it ... the day that made the story of Jesus worth telling and retelling ... the day that God has made, and the day that made God worth all our while, worth the trouble spending time for, spending time with, and spending all we have and are for.
There are people who have been spending mighty lots of time now in beaches in tropical Philippines, or in cooler climes up on mountain retreats in Tagaytay and Baguio, and elsewhere. There have been countless "devotees" of sorts who, since Wednesday or Thursday, have been flagellating themselves sore to a bloodied pulp, trying to make amends for a year's worth of revelry and sin, and the usual day-to-day existence, for the most part, godless and irreverently indifferent at the most. There have also been thousands who flocked to churches all over the country, including the thousands who did their easter duties of going to confession and communion, and went to Churches where they know a team of dedicated priests still held the fort, and bravely and tirelessly heard confessions, in some cases, for the entire day and a great part of the night Holy Thursday and Good Friday! Countless others kept to the their age-old traditions of holding the traditional "pabasa" in innumerable "kalbaryos" all over the country.
People go on, steadfast in their believing, without worrying as much about investigating.
On the other hand, we have legislators who claim to be Catholics, who are armed with the "research" they need, spending mighty lots of time, too, preparing for their brand of "battle" up ahead, to get their "responsible parenthood" bill approved.
Many Catholics in the Philippines, claim to remain steadfast in their believing, without doing so much as investigating on matters that are intricately entwined with the contents of what they claim to be their belief system!
Last night, at the Easter vigil, we renewed our baptismal promises. We not only professed faith in the one, true God and His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. We also professed faith in the Church that is His mystical Body. We also professed faith in the Holy Spirit that continues to inspire the Church and her leaders, that continues to breathe in newness and freshness and vigor to our faith.
But we did something more. We denounced the devil and his wiles. We denounced sin, and its many subtle, even imperceptible, guises. We denounced evil and renounced its many ramifications. We claimed to believe, and we promised to belong!
Alas! On this day that the Lord has made, there are those of us who make out something else, something different, something strange, something that does not sit well with what we claim. We claim to believe, but some of us refuse to belong. There are those of us who claim to be staunch Catholics, but who lose no time going against the official teachings of the Church, thus effectively declaring themselves as belonging, to someone or something else other than the Church that Jesus Christ has founded!
And what do they base their belonging on? ... on their incomplete believing, and faulty investigating!
Today, the day of the Lord's resurrection, we have two great examples of total believing coupled with true and inspired investigating. The two examples of today's story knew better than to confound and confuse the two, or reverse the order of priorities. Mary Magdalene knew better than to play the scientist, pretend to be a forensic expert, and do her own brand of investigating. No ... she made an about face, without question, and RAN to TELL the good news! Her faith was secure ... secure enough to get lost in futile investigations. The young, and fleet-footed John, too, knew his order of battle, and his order of priorities. He reached the tomb ahead, but waited. He reflected. He thought deeply about it. And only when the head of the apostles, Peter, came, sinful though he had been, with all his denials and bitter tears after the deed, did John "see and believe." He had faith, not a hypothesis!
As Fr. Gillhooley writes quoting an anonymous writer, to build exquisite cathedrals, one needs faith, not theories!
The proponents of the now somewhat superficially sanitized "responsible parenthood" bill have obviously lost their priorities. Their faith has been subjected to their own "theories" that have after all, been debunked so many times before by serious investigation. Whilst they claim to have "faith," they actually believe more in faulty investigation and flimsy theories than anything else. For the short-term benefits of "reducing population," they are willing to let go of the bigger picture that has to do with the grander designs of God, who has come to give LIFE, in its fullness, not just quality life for a few, for the here and the now!
Let us face it. Easter is all about faith. Easter is all about an event that shook the world and changed the course of human existence forever. Easter is all about a radical change of mind patterns and paradigms. It is all about putting everything and the logic of this world on its head. It is all about God defining Himself for who He is to us, forever, for always, and for all people of good will. If it did not happen, everything would be futile ... theories, investigations, research, and debates about everything under the sun, ad nauseam!
But since the Lord rose, our faith's claim to incontrovertible investigation has taken a back seat. It did not invalidate investigation .... no, ... but it did define and take up the need for investigation to a whole new level.
And, yes, before we do an investigation, we need to do Mary Magdalene first, make an "about-face" and "run" and "tell" the good news!
He is risen! And the logic of my faith tells me that investigations will have to take the back seat, for the very act of rising from the dead, defies all earthly logic.