DAILY CATHOLIC -    Tuesday, January 6, 1998   volume 9, no. 4

COLUMNS

KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL

by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Twentieth installment: Loving the Revealer part two

      In John 8: 47, Jesus says, "Anyone whose Father is God listens gladly to the words of God, and since you don't, it proves you aren't His children." Hence, accepting the Revealer implies accepting the revealed truth He presents. Primary and secondary faith constitute a "package deal."

     The doctrine of the Eucharist shows how this is done. According to Cardinal Neumann, in the last century there have been 157 interpretations of the words, "This is My Body." Of those, 90 interpretations are currently in use by different Christian denominations. Four times in John 6 Jesus gives the promise of the rapture for those who partake of the Eucharist. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood, I will raise him up on the last day; he who does not eat My flesh and drink My blood will not have life in him." 1 Corinthians 11: 29 tells us that anyone who eats the bread and drinks the wine not discerning therein the body and blood of the Lord is guilty of death of the Lord. That makes it very real, very sacred.

     After stressing the importance of this doctrine in John 6, Jesus went on to say we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. It sounded like cannibalism! The Jews were turned off by it. His very disciples, who had believed in Him, watched the miracles and just been been involved in an audience-participation miracle (eating the multiplied bread), said: "That's a hard saying. Who can take it?" and walked away. Jesus did not call them back and try to explain it away. He just turned to His apostles and asked, "Will you also go away?" He was not going to change His doctrine. If He had to lose them, He would. He was not going to compromise the truth He was revealing.

     Peter, speaking up for the apostles as usual, said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life." They had primary faith in Him, therefore they had to have secondary faith in what He was saying. Peter did not understand the doctrine because he accepted Christ; accepting the Revealer, he accepted the truth revealed by that Revealer. If it was explained how it could be done, it would not be faith, it would be knowledge, science. Faith transcends science.

     Faith is believing without evidence but relying on the validity of the testimony of someone who is reliable. It is person-based, not evidence-based. It is person-based, not evidence-based.

     The intensity of adherence to doctrine flows from the intensity of adherence to the revealer who reveals the doctrine. We can reverse the process and ask how strongly we believe a truth that is revealed; that will tell us how much faith we have in Jesus, the Revealer. It will tell us the level of our personal commitment.

     Another example is found in John 11 when Jesus came to raise Lazarus from the dead. Martha went out to meet Him and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother Lazarus would not have died." So Jesus then challenged her to secondary belief. "Don't you believe in the resurrection of the body (the rapture)?" He asked her. She replied, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God." Again the connection is established between secondary and primary faith. She believed in the truth of the resurrection because she believed in Jesus the Messiah, the Revealer.

     In John 5: 24, Jesus says, "Anyone who listens to My message" - secondary faith - ""believes in God Who sent Me" - primary faith.

Next Week: Steak and Potatoes Faith part one


January 6, volume 9, no. 4         DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS