March 2, 2015

Dear Family and Friends of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

Skepticism can be a healthy thing. It causes a person to question assumptions by others, and it cautions against making decisions based upon perceived truths that may be false. Skepticism does have limitations. This attitude causes us to “play it safe.” We don’t risk anything. It is the opposite of faith where we trust in something not completely clear. We act on this trust and find in giving up control that we come to a new place that is adventurous and rewarding.

Skeptics have difficulty with the person Jesus. Some would go so far as to say he never existed. Few people would question Jesus was born, grew up in Nazareth, spent most of his ministry in Galilee, and was executed on the cross in Jerusalem. Most people acknowledge that the sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels were actually said by him. While the Gospels have their respective interpretations, the teachings at their core do go back to Jesus.

The miracles (such as the multiplication of the loaves and fish or the water turned to wine) and the many times Jesus healed people cause us to move from probability to faith. Miracles and healing dominate all four Gospels. It is difficult to separate them from Jesus. Indeed, they are signs that lead us to understand Jesus as divine, as the Son of God.

Christian faith carries us further. There are several events in which God, the Father, intervenes in Jesus’ life. It begins with Jesus being conceived by the Holy Spirit with the Virgin Mary. At Jesus’ baptism and later when Jesus is transfigured on the mountain, the Father’s words come forth, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Finally there is the resurrection of Jesus and his appearances as the Risen Lord. The Easter event has enormous implications, for Jesus’ is showing us the way to heaven. It is as if he is leading us back into the Garden of Eden, into paradise, where death is conquered, and we can be at one with the Father. Unlike skepticism, faith has its rewards. Christian faith brings us spiritually and, after our own deaths, physically into a whole new world. Alleluia! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,