Recently I was having a conversation with my sister regarding God. I believe, wholeheartedly in Catholicism. This does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that I cannot intellectually understand and appreciate the beliefs and customs of other religions. In fact, I have a lot of respect for peace seeking people who are devoted to their beliefs and who share their love with others.
My strength in Catholicism comes from evidence gained in the New Testament given directly by Jesus Himself. Further proof in Catholicism, for me, is that the first Pope was St. Peter, one of the original 12 apostles. Finally, I look to Paul. Paul’s story is an absolute miracle. Paul, a faithful Jew, was murdering the gentiles and converted Jews that were following the teachings of Jesus Christ. He had a vision, was converted, and evangelized the rest of his life…to his death!! I have searched for evidence to challenge Catholicism, but everything always points back to the Catholic faith for me.
My sister is at another place in her faith journey. Simply stated, she believes that God is for all people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, everyone. I agree. Her claim is that Jesus was sent by God to a group of people that needed saving. Her claim also implies that Mohammad was sent by God to a different group of people that needed direction and saving. This argument is plausible too in considering the appearance of Moses and all the forefathers of Israel.
Then I reflect on the reading in this weekend’s Mass from Romans 10:
8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Because Paul is quoting scripture, the original old law, in verse 11-13, is he proving my sister’s point of view? While it might be true, I still have faith that it is through Jesus that we get to the Father. Is that my argument only because Jesus came to my ancestors who were Christian? Is my belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ just a matter of family tradition? What if my family followed Mohammad? Hmmm….
There are many theories, many arguments, and many denials of the Catholic faith…some may even have good reason. For me, it all comes back to the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus, my Savior, the resurrected Son of God…everything Catholics practice comes directly from Jesus, the living Word.