Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - "To believe or not to Believe"
With apologies to Shakespeare! Science v Faith! Can they coexist? Religion draws its strength by answering "Yes". Both are directed to finding the truth, and each should concern itself with its own province. Science relates to the physical world, whilst religion seeks to deal with the spiritual needs of creation. Today's feast of the Trinity focuses our attention upon this aspect of "mystery" in our belief - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three Persons, but One God.

Exodus 34:4-6; 8-9: ‚ In this passage from Exodus, we see God as a God of mercy, ready to forgive His people. The Chosen people had fallen into idolatry and Moses intercedes for them before God.

Corinthians 13: 11-13: Despite his many differences with the Corinthians, a proud and successful people, Paul wishes them well by invoking the Three Persons of the Godhead - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

John 3: 16-18: - The visible expression of this Divine Love became present in the person of Christ called Emmanuel - God with us; through Him, the Father speaks to all who will listen. Our insight into this unity of the Father and the Son is deepened under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

Point 1: At regular intervals, we are informed that if it is to survive, Christianity must change, or it will become irrelevant! In addition to several particular hobby horses such as homosexuality and women priests, our critics maintain that the Divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, and the Virgin Birth, are due for revision because they are "unreasonable". Now, it may well be argued that certain perceptions of Christianity, as it has come to be interpreted, may need to change; but to change beliefs on which Christianity has been founded is to set the stage to make it irrelevant to the major concerns of the day. By turning what the writers of the Gospels and creeds considered to be statements of fact into "unreasonable" demands on human credulity, is to marginalise the role of "Faith" as a stepping stone to "Truth". Faith and Science are not exclusive of each in the quest for Truth. They complement each other where it is recognised that so much of life and living cannot be put under the microscope or reduced to scientific formulae. It is to such areas of relationships that religion can, and does, bring new insights. The relationship of Creator and creature - made in the image of God to know love and to serve so as to enjoy eternal union with the Author of Life; the relationship of person to person - do unto others!; creature to creation - to use and not to abuse.

Point 2: Watering down these basic tenets of Faith is not the answer to today's problems any more that it has been in the past when the same objections were made, and believers such as Justin the Martyr in the 2nd century, Origen in the 3rd century, Augustine in the 4th lifted their voices in defence of the meaning of the Scriptures. Or again when St. Thomas Aquinas established the respective roles of the Theologian and the Philosopher. Certainly mistakes have been made when one discipline sought to intrude into the other's province - the classical example being that of Galileo; or, the other side of the coin, the increasing number of scientists who, despite incredible advances, now recognise the limitations of "pure" science to deal with life in its fullness.

Conclusion: Today's celebration is to remind us that at the heart of the Christian Faith is God's love visibly shown in the person of the Son, Christ, who called God "Abba" Father, and claimed unity with the Father, and assured those who accepted Him that they would be constantly strengthened by the influence of the Holy Spirit, until that day when, through death, they would be caught up in the fullness of that love.

Scriptural reference: [John 5:24] Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.