On the Word and the miracles


On the Word and the miracles

Gospel – Mark 6:34-44. Jesus feeds five thousand men.

This is one of the most popular miracles. From a supernatural angle, this demonstrates the ability of Jesus to multiply food. From a more rational angle, this story demonstrates how the human Jesus can inspire followers to be generous with one another.

Perhaps a running theme of my reflections would be to ponder miracles: should I believe in miracles literally, as in empirically and actually happening? Another question could be: should I anchor my faith on literal miracles to be an authentic Christian or Catholic?

My current answer might be in contrast with the belief of other Christians: no. I may be having the courage to adopt this kind of stance precisely because of people of the Christian faith who are also proponents of reason.

In fact, at the risk of expressing a more controversial stance, I am having a growing opinion that it does not matter to me if the miracles and the resurrection would be debunked. What matters more would be to anchor my faith on the virtues and invitation of Christ to reflect, as He would articulate via the parables, His revised commandments on loving our neighbors, and the Beatitudes.

As Aquinas and Lonergan beautifully articulated, the beauty of life and the world’s ecosystems suggests that there must be a Grand Designer or a Primary Insight; the Word. Therefore, there must be a benevolent God. To me, the human Jesus provided lessons that other humans could potentially live out. And our quest for meaning and purpose suggests that we need spiritual nourishment, or flourishing something beyond our own egos. (Food for thought: should miracles have to be literally real to encounter the insight that there is a Grand Designer or a Primary Insight? I don’t think so. That’s why it matters less to me if miracles would ultimately be debunked.)

Is the human Jesus inviting us to commune with the Word? I strongly think so. The human Jesus does not strike me as prideful nor jealous (compared with some of the Old Testament depiction of God). He invites us to think and deeply reflect. And I find a growing appreciation for the Catholic Liturgy of the Word, because in this practice, we can better partake of the Word in Holy Communion.

Other humans, even those who claim to be holy, are fallible. We’ve heard of sexually abusive Catholic priests. Heck, I have even learned of teachers of faith who sexually abuse minors! Therefore, a person who claims to be a holy silver bullet seems more likely to be a fake messiah, for this person tempts the vulnerable to reject reason and blindly obey, “just because”.

Thus, my resolution seems to grow stronger: spirituality only anchored on blindly obeying a personality, as well as spirituality that fully rejects reason, is incomplete and unreliable. Spirituality anchored on both faith and tempering reason, to me, is stronger or preferable.

I come to this conclusion perhaps because of my experiences engaging in dialogue with my parents, mentors, friends, and loved ones, who can agree to disagree with me, yet I have strong faith that they are always looking out for me as I look out for them. It doesn’t matter who “wins” the argument. What matters more is the collaborative discernment towards the Word, the Truth, the Primary Insight.

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