I'd like to start this post off with a quote from Saint John Chrysostom: "Let us submit to God in all things and not contradict him, even if what he says seems to contradict our reason and intellect; let his words prevail over our reason and intellect.
Wow. Talk about difficult. We must submit to God in ALL things and not contradict him. Not only that, but sometimes what HE says might seem to contradict our reason and intellect. I don't know about you, but I don't like it when my reasoning or intellect is challenged. No sir. I like to think of myself as a very reasonable person and although I might not be a brain surgeon, I believe I at least have an adequate level of intellect. So when Saint John Chrysostom says that we must submit to God in all things regardless of whether or not it seems to contradict our reason and intellect, that is a difficult pill for many of us to swallow. He concludes by saying that we must let His words prevail over our reason and intellect. His words are of course the words of God. A curious person likes to ask questions and try to make sense of everything, but God does not always speak in ways we can reasonably explain. It may be hard for us to accept God's word when we can not fully understand or explain it, but that is what we are asked to do. When Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden apple tree, they thought that they would possess all the knowledge of God but they did not. We will never fully understand everything God has made or spoken to us, but we should accept the words and trust that God's words will save us.
In the gospel reading today, we hear about the great story of the multiplication of fish and loaves. A young boy offered Jesus just five fish and three loaves of bread (or was it three fish and five loaves, no matter) and Jesus was able to feed a crowd of over five thousand people and had more leftovers than when they started with. Wow. Try to explain that. Imagine you were that young boy and you went home and had to explain to your parents how you came home with more food than you left the house with. I'm sure the parents had to be pretty skeptical. Guess what, that is a miracle. Miracles can not be reasonably explained, but they happen all the time. Miracles do not come from man, but from God. An intelligent person might try to reasonably explain the great miracle of multiplication by saying that the crowd must have had some food and shared their food. Perhaps in the course of telling a good story, there was an exaggeration of either the crowd size or the amount of food. It is hard for a reasonable person to accept miracles because it is impossible to explain. We like to think that we can make sense of and explain all things. If we hear something that doesn't make sense to us, we often try to conjure an explanation. Sorry, but miracles are unexplainable.
Why do we feel we must always explain everything? What good comes from questioning God's word to fit the expectations of our limited mind? God created man, so do you not think that he can also perform miracles? Think about the vast universe. That did not just happen by accident, but it came from God. If He can do these things, who are we to question whether or not he could multiply fish and loaves of bread? It is difficult when our senses do not allow us to feel, hear, taste or see God's miracles. We must rely on our faith alone, and that is difficult for many of us. We must heed the wise words of Saint John Chrysostom and let God's words prevail. This may be difficult for us at times, but submission to God and His word is not a rejection of reason. As a reasonable being, I understand that my limited knowledge will never be able to fully grasp everything that God has made or done. Try to explain how life is formed. Life itself is a miracle. Now we have scientists trying to explain how life is formed by experimenting with cloning. They are wasting their efforts. The creation of life is not a game. The ability for man and woman to be joined together and be able to produce a new life is the greatest gift and miracle that God has given to us. It is unimaginable that we have people who think that they can form human life from some laboratory.
The reasonable person must first accept that not all things can be explained by human reason and intellect alone. The reasonable person must first accept that there is a God, he made and knows all things, and we are not Him. Without these two most basic understandings, the most "reasonable" person doesn't really know anything at all. We must have faith. God bless!
About Saint John Chrysostom: The following was found on www.catholic.org/saints
Feastday: September 13th
b: 344? d: 407
St. John, named Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) on account of his eloquence, came into the world of Christian parents, about the year 344, in the city of Antioch. His mother, at the age of 20, was a model of virtue. He studied rhetoric under Libanius, a pagan, the most famous orator of the age.
In 374, he began to lead the life of an anchorite in the mountains near Antioch, but in 386 the poor state of his health forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest.
In 398, he was elevated to the See of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. But he had enemies in high places and some were ecclesiastics, not the least being Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who repented of this before he died. His most powerful enemy, however, was the empress Eudoxia, who was offended by the apostolic freedom of his discourses. Several accusations were brought against him in a pseudo-council, and he was sent into exile.
In the midst of his sufferings, like the apostle, St. Paul, whom he so greatly admired, he found the greatest peace and happiness. He had the consolation of knowing that the Pope remained his friend, and did for him what lay in his power. His enemies were not satisfied with the sufferings he had already endured, and they banished him still further, to Pythius, at the very extremity of the Empire. He died on his way there on September 14, 407.