|The Foundations of Faith:||Seminar 1|
IntroductionStarting with the Pope John XXIII all his successors have realized the dire need for a new approach to proclamation of the Gospel of Christ apparently alarmed by the vision of many Christians of our times who seem to think that being religious and going to Mass on Sundays is the only prerequisite for one's salvation. After all, a serial killer Ted Bundy was religious, President George W. Bush is religious, and so is the Norvegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. Pharisees, scribes and religious leaders in Jesus' times, as well as all those whom Jesus criticized and condemned were also religious!
The Shepherds of our Church well percieved something was amiss. When the rich young man approached Jesus with a simple inquiry about his own salvation he asked: "teacher, what must I do to be saved?" Jesus first listed all Ten Commandments. When the rich man replied that he kept all these his entire life, Jesus added, "get rid of all your earthly possessions and give the proceeds to the needy. Then you shall have treasures in heaven" (Matt.19:16-30, Mk. 10:13-16, Lk. 19:18-23). This seemingly ordinary event, which happened during Jesus' public ministry has had an extremely important reverberation for our lives. Notice, Jesus did not say: "That's OK, just believe in son of God and you will be saved". Instead, He goes on listing the Ten Commandments, which stand for righteousness and respect of others, then He does not stop there. He continues: "sell your earthly possessions and give the proceeds away to needy" i.e. deny yourself, forget your selfish attachment to earthly possessions, and extend your righteousness by loving, caring concern for others! Now look around yourselves today and ask honestly how many "Christians" today are willing to do this?
That's not all. In addition to our present
spiritual blindness and ignorance, since the advent of industrial revolution
faith has received another hit. Its force is fueled by our intellectial
arrogance and the drift towards atheism through materialism and consumerism
prevalent in our society today. Clearly, new approach to evangelization
is needed as for the last 200 years our Church only continues limping behind
the industrial and technological advances of our world. These are choking
the little remaining faith that there still is and the gap between the
world and the message of Christ continues widening.
The two worlds we live inWe know that our existence is composed of two different realms: The Spiritual and the Physical.
The Spiritual realm is immortal. It is the world of our souls (spirits), which are immortal. We cross between these two worlds during our birth and upon our death.
Our Physical realm is the world we presently live in, and which we are well conscious about. This is the world which is governed by the laws of evolution and to great extent mathematical probability. In this world our bodies are subject to constant change and natural degradation through ageing. Our physical existence here on Earth is limited by our natural lifespan.
Regrettably, the reality of our immortality is frequently forgotten. People tend living their lives as if our physical death was final and there was no accountability thereafter. This is not the case. Throughout His public ministry Jesus endeavored teaching this fundamental concept using the most effective approach carefully tailored so that chosen people of His time would gain understanding.
The concept of our immortal existence could be represented by graphical analogy of an infinity line (the spiritual realm) and a human hair crossing it (our present life). One can readily discern the insignificance of the trials and difficulties we are constantly subject to in our lives only if we contrast the thin hair to the vastness of infinity.
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