Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Homily
Fr. Paul Ward

Sat. & Sun., October 18 & 19, 2014
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
Cycle A
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
 

The Five Ways: Fifth Way, Finality and the Government of All Things

 

   It is time for us today to explore the fifth of the five ways in which we can prove the existence of God. While today’s Gospel passage speaks of taxes and government, and it may be a good opportunity to speak of the moral principles of Catholics regarding such things, let me for now only remind all of us to participate in our society through our vote, as we do in many other ways; but also to vote with our Catholic hearts and minds, promoting and collaborating in what is truly good, and battling intelligently what is evil, in all the ways which the Catholic Church infallibly teaches us. I remind everyone, also, that if by your vote you give power to politicians to aid, defend and promote the murder of 4,000 babies a day by means of abortion, you too become guilty of that deed. Think of your final judgment when you vote.

   I also wish, on a different note, to inform everyone that this coming Wednesday, at 7pm in the parish social hall, I am inviting everyone who may be interested in participating in the 2015 Youth Pilgrimage to come to a meeting. This is the Trailblazers, and the meeting will explain what we are planning for nine days at the end of July and beginning of August of next year. Our youth will hike, canoe and camp their way through the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, as did the first Jesuit missionaries, taking us to two shrines. At one is the very location where three martyrs, the famous Jesuit priest St. Isaac Jogues, but also two laymen Sts. Rene Goupil and John Laland, gave their lives for Christ between 1642 and 1646. The shrine is on the location of an old Mohawk village. The second shrine is six miles away on the Mohawk river, and is dedicated to St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin, the first canonized Mohawk saint; and there her home village has been excavated. The pilgrimage is open to anyone who would like to come of ages 15-25, and at this meeting every question you can think of will be answered.

   That said, let us now turn our mind to the next proof of God.

   In this proof, like always, we begin with an observation of the natural world which all can see and no one can deny. It is this: that everything that lacks rational knowledge operates for a purpose, which we can call an “end.” When a thing operates for an end, we call that “finality,” and another name for that end is the “final cause.” For example, let us look at a toothbrush. It has a purpose, an end, a final cause, a thing for which it exists: in this case, for clean teeth. This “end” can even be something special, that is, if I let a rock fall, its end or final destination spot is the surface of the ground. Similarly, when planets spin around the sun, they always do so in the same manner, showing that they have a goal or destination which is the same in every revolution at whichever point in the orbit you should wish to choose.

   [Other examples, in living things: teeth and the kinds of teeth made for eating different things; the marvel of the eye; the clever nourishment of leaves by photosynthesis; the combination of fauna and flora in ecosystems; etc.]

   This consideration, that all things work for a purpose, adds tremendously to the “beauty” proper to this fifth proof of God, for it brings us to contemplate nature and the good of order that exists therein.

   Now, that all of these things, which are repeated in many cases: teeth, eyes, leaves, fauna, flora, toothbrushes, the gravity affecting the movement of rocks and planets, and so forth, clearly show that the ends for which they exist and towards which they move have not been established by any rational choice of their own. And since it is completely reliable that the same thing has the same end in one case after another after another, we draw the conclusion that this is not by accident. The only alternative to things happening by chance or by accident is that they happen by intention.

   Therefore, from these simple and obvious facts, everyone can come to see that there is an intellect that both knows and governs all things. This intellect that gives order and finality to all natural things is what we call God.

   From this proof of God, we can further make applications to our own lives. That is to say, you may realize that you, also, are something that this same intellect, that gives goals and purpose to all things, also made you. For what purpose did he make you?

   Those who know the old catechism have a sure answer: God made me to know, love and serve him in this life and to be happy with him in the next.

   [Anecdote of college student for whom the memory of this fact provided strength for her conversion back to the Catholicism she had abandoned.]

   May the Blessed Virgin Mary always help us attain the purpose for which we were made, by her loving and powerful intercession. Amen.


 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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