Summary: Reality is greater than the physical universe.
Thursday of fourth week in Lent 2017
Joy of the Gospel
We look today at the person and message of Moses. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that Moses wrote about Him. Where? Torah says that Moses told his people that the Lord would in later days raise up a prophet like himself. They would know that prophet to be true because everything He said would come true. Every prophecy of Jesus has come true, and is coming true as the kingdom is manifesting itself through the Church’s witness. But Moses also wrote in Genesis that God made man in His own image and likeness. That, of course, is why the Israelite rebellion recounted here in Exodus was so awful. Man is made to be the image of God. To make idols is a horrible crime, because it holds the creation of man to be the image of God. Ultimately, Moses’ prophecy comes true in the person of Jesus, who is the perfect image of God, and the model we imitate so that we might day by day become more like God–pure, merciful, just, poor in spirit, meek and rejoicing in persecution. And, of course, functioning in this world as peacemakers.
The pope expands on dialogue with society: ‘Dialogue between science and faith also belongs to the work of evangelization at the service of peace. Whereas positivism and scientism “refuse to admit the validity of forms of knowledge other than those of the positive sciences”, the Church proposes another path, which calls for a synthesis between the responsible use of methods proper to the empirical sciences and other areas of knowledge such as philosophy, theology, as well as faith itself, which elevates us to the mystery transcending nature and human intelligence. Faith is not fearful of reason; on the contrary, it seeks and trusts reason, since “the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God” and cannot contradict each other. Evangelization is attentive to scientific advances and wishes to shed on them the light of faith and the natural law so that they will remain respectful of the centrality and supreme value of the human person at every stage of life. All of society can be enriched thanks to this dialogue, which opens up new horizons for thought and expands the possibilities of reason. This too is a path of harmony and peace.
‘The Church has no wish to hold back the marvellous progress of science. On the contrary, she rejoices and even delights in acknowledging the enormous potential that God has given to the human mind. Whenever the sciences – rigorously focused on their specific field of inquiry – arrive at a conclusion which reason cannot refute, faith does not contradict it. Neither can believers claim that a scientific opinion which is attractive but not sufficiently verified has the same weight as a dogma of faith. At times some scientists have exceeded the limits of their scientific competence by making certain statements or claims. But here the problem is not with reason itself, but with the promotion of a particular ideology which blocks the path to authentic, serene and productive dialogue.’
The most significant way in which “some scientists have exceeded the limits of their scientific competence” is to claim that empirical science can discover all truth. What arrogance! Reality is greater than the physical universe. That claim causes some scientists to profess atheism–they can’t prove by physical science that there is a higher power, so they tell everybody that there is no God. It is, of course, a total failure of logic. It’s like saying since we can’t feel, taste, see, hear, or smell something, it doesn’t exist, that if we can’t measure it, it doesn’t have reality. I feel sorry for the companions of such people, because they can’t create a metric for human love, either. In our case, the metric for divine love is John 3:16: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”