Thursday, August 15, 2013


   The first "Galileo moment" came when science showed us that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.  The spiritual impact of this discovery caused us to adjust our view of ourselves.  We are not proudly at the center of the universe but more humbly, we are on a small planet in a small solar system.

   The second "Galileo moment" has come from our discovery of evolution.  Evolution has brought our faith very much "down to earth" and made it vibrantly alive and ever open to maturing.  We now see in a contemporary way that our creative, healing and world-building relationship with God has been evolving from the moment we were created.  And when we  spiritually evolved to the point where we could receive God-with-us, Jesus was born.

   Our new "Galileo moment" shows us that Jesus came first and foremost to fulfill God's eternal, overflowing love for us.  At the appropriate spiritual moment of evolution, Jesus came to share our human life with us and to elevate our space/time lives here on earth to a new level of eternal possibilities.  In a new, spiritual "Big Bang," Jesus elevated us so we could transcend our "old self" and evolve from the lowly, primitive "Don't's" of the Commandments to the lofty heights of the Beatitudes.

   Secondly, Jesus was crucified because of our sins--and not because of anything at all like God's anger or need for revenge.  In the Gospels we read that John the Baptist preached repentance and fiery judgment.  But when he sent his followers to ask Jesus if Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus surprised and disappointed them with the compassion-filled response that the blind regained their sight, the lame walked, lepers were healed and the deaf heard. (Lk. 7:19-22).

   In joyful response to Jesus' work and prayers, evolution helps us focus our attention on bringing God's loving, compassionate kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven."  In the grace of Christ we live in our time and culture as Jesus lived in his time and culture, i.e., blessing the poor by doing all we can to help them get food, jobs, housing, education, etc.; healing the sick, blind and lame, by helping them get the best possible health care; getting our leaders to work as effectively as possible for peace; ensuring justice by getting our business people to make a fair profit while creating jobs that enable employees to live decent lives; and "being in charge of the earth" by caring for the environment. 

   Christ living within us makes us and the world sacred expressions of himself.  Evolution shows us that our work as expressions of Christ is to move the world forward toward its sacred fulfillment, to help creation evolve by making the world more luminously human in the love of Christ.  The works that we call "social justice and peacemaking" are not a ministry for us but our primary ministry.

   Unfortunately, church authorities pay too much attention to defending church doctrines--often as a way of maintaining their authority and power--and not enough attention to mobilizing Catholics to do the everyday, down-to-earth work of moving the world forward and elevating it in the grace of Christ.  Inattention to our primary ministry in and for today's world, and to a liturgy that ritualizes it, is an important reason why so many of us have grown disaffected from the church.

   By his own example, Jesus shows us--and especially today's young people--that the ever evolving beauty and challenge of living in Christ is to get as deeply and effectively engaged in our society and culture as he was.  The new, evolutionary "Galileo moment" awaits and challenges all of us.

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