Homily for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Does God Exist?

A little fair warning for today’s homily. Usually my messages are more spiritual, they try to get at the heart, but today and for the next two weeks, I’m going to change it up a little bit. I am going to try to get you at the level of the head. So hold on to your seats and I promise to get to in-depth today.

Way back in my Junior year of high school, I found myself facing a crisis of faith. I would lay awake at night and ask myself is God really real. Mind you, I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school my entire, life, heck I even did really well in religion class. Yet no one up to my junior year of high school, asked me if I really believed in God. No one ever asked me what it meant to be a Catholic and why I was Catholic. I did the Catholic thing, but no one ever challenged me to ask why I did it. For some reason, I would find myself lying awake and out of nowhere I began to doubt that God was even real. I didn’t want that thought, but I just couldn’t get it to escape my mind.

Frankly, I know I’m not alone in having that question. A 2018 Pew Survey, a very reputable survey company, revealed 19% of Americans do not believe in God and only 58% of Americans believe in the God as described in the Bible.[1]  Now you are probably saying well ok father that’s the rest of the world, but I’m here at Church, clearly I believe in God. Well, read on in the study and you find that 9% of Catholics who attend Church once a week and 29% who attend Church once or twice a month identify as not believing in God. I think it’s a natural question. At some point you have to ask yourself, where is this world that I live in come from? How did I get here and where am I going? These are fair questions. So, for this week and the next two weeks I want to pause ask ourselves, why am I Catholic. What does it mean to be a Catholic? To do that I want to start all the way back at the beginning and ask that question, is God really real, and what about Jesus. Sure, I think we know the answer that I am going to arrive at, but I think it’s important for us to stop and ask the question.

Here’s the thing, I can prove to you God exists. When I tell the high school seniors that I teach, who I teach because I need time off purgatory, they stare at me like I’m crazy. Any high school physics teacher understands that God exists. There physics teacher may not tell them this, but any high school physics student knows that an object in motion only goes into motion when some other motion makes it happen. I have my phone here recording this homily, it’s not going to move unless something else puts in motion. You can sit here all night if you want and watch it, but it’s not going to go anywhere on its own. Well look at the world around us. There is all kinds of movement and motion. Well that motion must have been started by some motion and something else must have started that motion and something else must have started that motion, and eventually you get to the fact that there must be this first motion that was always in motion, we call God. Now usually in my classes I have allot of scientific people and then those artistic people who want nothing to do with science. Well think of it this way. I could draw three triangles for you, but I won’t because I can’t actually draw a triangle. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t pass kindergarten today. I go into the kindergarten classroom and I am keenly aware that they are smarter than I am. But if I drew three triangles and then I showed them to you and asked you to tell me which is the best and which is the worst of these three you would point to one and say that is better than that one. But better in reference to what? In reference to what a triangle actually is. We make all kinds of comparisons in the world in reference to what. That which is perfect, who we will call God. [2] Well if you head is hurting a little that’s ok, I’ll back out of this for a second.  Because you are probably saying, that doesn’t sound like the God I know in the bible and that is certainly true, but at a minimum science and art can demonstrate to us that there has to be some being that always was and who is responsible for this mess that we call the earth.

But how do we get to the God of the Bible, a God who knows us and loves us? That’s where we have to open our eyes. Stare off into space and look at the world around us and you begin to realize it is simply impossible that all of this happened just by chance. I get allot of high school seniors who will grant me that there is this being, but they believe that he just created the world, the big bang blew it up and started everything, and we are left to experience whatever happens to the world. That doesn’t make sense at all. The world is way too complex.

Look, I don’t use props allot because most of you can’t actually see them, but you have to trust me. I have a blue pen, a black pen, and a pencil, all facing outward towards you. I can drop them a million times on the ground and they are never going to line up exactly as they were in my hand. We could sit here all night and play that game. I could pick them up, put them back in order, and drop them again, and those three little writing instruments would never line up how I had them in my hand. And that is just three writing instruments. The world is way more complex than that.

Look at the universe. I didn’t do very well in astronomy class, as a matter of fact I’m very grateful my astronomy professor was a devout Catholic who pulled me and two other seminarian classmates aside and said he knew we were there because his class didn’t have a lab and as long as we showed up to class and everything would be fine. You do realize, the Milky Way Galaxy is built in a spiral and earth is located in the perfect location in our system. As a matter of fact Jupiter lines up with earth such that Jupiter basically pulls all the asteroids and meteoroids that could attack earth and pulls them towards it because it’s bigger.[3] If smaller ones crepe through, the  moon is in such a place that it acts as a shield, which is why there are all those rock craters on the moon.[4] You know the earth is on an axis, which is what gives us the different seasons, but if it tilted a little more, to either side, you and I wouldn’t be here; summer would be too hot and winter would be too cold for us to survive. You can’t tell me that is just pure chance that here is this earth, in the middle of this solar system that is beyond comprehension which happens to be titled at the correct angle and there are all of these protections to make sure it survives. I’d look at you like you are crazy if you actually believed that.

Now think about the human body. The human genome contains between 20,000 and 25,000 genes[5] or nearly 3 billion letters of code. While there are slight changes in the human genome which is what makes some of us different from each other, if you have significant changes you aren’t born at all. You cannot tell me that 3 billion letters of code just randomly happen to line up the way they need to line up so there can be 7.8 billion people on this earth. No mathematician would take you seriously if you claimed it was just chance.

Look, I have met many people who claim to be atheists, for a while I thought I was kind of an atheist too, but if we open our eyes we begin to realize that God has to exist and not only does He have to exist, he has to exist in such a way that He cares for us and that He is directly involved in the world. Look, God exists, you can’t run from it. You may not like it, but you can’t run from it. Not only does God exist, but you can’t get away from the example of Jesus either.

Look historians do not doubt that Jesus roamed the earth two thousand years ago in modern day Israel performing all kinds of miracles. Every historian accepts that facts that there was this guy Jesus. For as unbelievable as it may sound there is no other reasonable argument than to hold that He is God. I know your heads hurt, it’s ok, maybe it will make you sympathetic to my students. Yet, Jesus is Yet, Jesus was different from every other person, He claims to be the Son of God, He claims to be the message itself and they put Him to death for this claim. Jesus Jewish contemporaries called Him a liar. I don’t know about you but I don’t die for a lie. I might lie to make money or be famous, neither of which really happened to Jesus. Maybe He was crazy, but if that was the case how could He summarize the 10 commandments down into 2? The only option is He is who He says He is. He’s God.

Look, I certainly understand how it be hard to believe that God exists, in fact I’ve been there myself, but there is no other option than the reality is that God exists that He is active in our world and that Jesus exists and came into our world to save us. I’ll leave it there for now. Come back next week and we’ll ask ourselves why I can’t just be spiritual and not religious. Why I can’t just sit at home, why I actually need a church. I hope I’ve given you something to think about. My hope is you can leave this week and open your eyes and you can see the great marvels of this world and realize that it cannot happen by chance. As a matter of fact, science proves that God exists and the world shows us that He exists in a way that He cares about us. What more can we want. Next week we will look at why we need Jesus Christ and then in two weeks we will stop and ask ourselves what then does it mean to be a Catholic.

[1] Pew Research Forum, When Americans say they believe in God what do they mean? April, 2018. Available at https://www.pewforum.org/2018/04/25/when-americans-say-they-believe-in-god-what-do-they-mean/04-25-18_beliefingod-00-00/

[2] For 5 proofs for the existence of God see, Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica first part of the first part, question 2, article 3. Available at https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm

[3] Mike Wall, How often do asteroids hit Jupiter. Available at https://www.space.com/32420-jupiter-asteroid-impact-rate.html.

[4] https://www.icr.org/earths-location

[5] Medline, What is a Gene. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/basics/gene/

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