Moved to Greater Love
Moved to Greater Love

Sunday, April 27

Today’s Grace

I ask for the grace to receive the Holy Spirit and be sent out as evidence of God’s love for the world.

Scripture/Reading

Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

Jn 20:19-31
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him,“We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples
that are not written in this book.
But these are written that you may come to believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

 

How do we make a case for God in our world? Dozens of Jesuit scholastics in the United States have had a class or two with Dr. Paul Moser, the chair in the philosophy department at Loyola University Chicago. A sharp analytic philosopher by training, Moser went through a long period of agnostic doubt about God. Like doubting Thomas in today’s Gospel passage, a younger Moser was looking for more convincing evidence of God’s existence and work in the world. To paraphrase Bertrand Russell, if a morally perfect God does exist, he has not given us enough evidence. Many bright, ethical people have given up on religious belief for similar reasons.

But Moser began to challenge his own assumptions about how a God worthy of worship would act, if such a God does exist. Moser’s conclusion was that a God worthy of worship would not be content with easy proofs, because then we could observe God as mere spectators, like disinterested scientists in a lab. At the same time, a God worthy of worship would not co-opt the free will of those who claim God by forcing their hands to do good. Rather, this God would invite humans to become living evidence (not conclusive proof) of a good God. This invitation could only be heard by those who are disposed to listen for that interior call. The challenge is that responding to God’s call requires a change of heart, such that people no longer live for themselves but for others. “Such non-coercive empowering of what we may call ‘agape transformation’ would aim for cooperative divine-human fellowship,” that models, however imperfectly and briefly, God’s morally perfect character (Paul Moser, “Evidence for God,” 215). Put simply: to our modern world, the most compelling evidence for God is a life well-lived by those who claim God.

Reflection Questions

  1. I consider Moser’s claim that God desires an ongoing “agape transformation” in my heart. I look to the people around me who model selfless love, who generously give of themselves with little concern for their own well-being. Do they reflect joy and attract others? I ask for Jesus’ perseverance in this Christian life, that I may be living evidence of Christ’s joy and mercy in the world today.

Reflection

Music: “Worthy is the Lamb” and “Amen” from Handel’s “Messiah”

Other Resources

View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.





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