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 | By Father Bryan Jerabek

In Search of the Truth

Diocese Celebrates Mass for the STEM Community

On Oct. 30, Father Bryan Jerabek, pastor and rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul, celebrated the annual Gold Mass at the cathedral. The Mass is celebrated to honor those in the STEM community. The complete text of Father’s homily follows herein.

Again, a warm welcome to all members of the “STEM” community – science, technology, engineering, and math – who are members of this cathedral parish or have come to join us today for this Second Annual Diocesan Gold Mass. Bishop Raica regrets that he is unable to be here after all but was happy to greet you by video before your conference last evening and is united with us in prayer today also. We are grateful for his permission to celebrate a Votive Mass of St. Albert the Great this Sunday, a couple weeks in anticipation of his feast day, since St. Albert is the patron saint of scientists and indeed, a Doctor or sure teacher of truth in the Church’s great catalog of saints. May he intercede for us as we journey toward the truth together.

Faith reveals to us some key insights about the truth, and I would like to mention two of them for our reflection today. The first is that all truth finds its unity and indeed its source in a person – the person of Jesus Christ. We can never forget that Gospel passage where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” then telling us that His way of truth is the unique way to life with the Father. Indeed, many families choose this precise Gospel passage for the funerals of their loved ones, inviting all of us at that tender moment to reflect upon whether or not we are on the path of truth and so qualified to dwell with Jesus in the dwelling He has prepared.

The second point for reflection is closely related, and, in fact, is highlighted by the second reading; namely, that God, Who is truth and has become truth incarnate in Christ, has left His mark on everything He made.

“For in Him were created all things in Heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible ... all things were created through Him and for Him... and in Him all things hold together,” St. Paul said.

Our encounter with the truth, our study of the truth, necessarily leads us to an encounter with God. Thanks to the gift of faith He has given us, we are able to recognize this fact and rejoice in it. What a blessing it is to be a pursuer of truth who has the gift of faith!

Something that Bishop Raica said at last year’s Gold Mass really impacted me, and I want to repeat it now, for I think it ties these two points together. He said, “To stretch the knowledge of science means in large part to set aside pre-conceptions and allow reality to impose itself upon us in ever-new and dramatic ways.” Isn’t it the case that Jesus comes to meet us, that He actively pursues us? And that, when He does, He often challenges us to change our way of thinking – that, try as we might at times, we can never finally conform reality to our own pre-conceived notions? Scientists of faith, in the course of their research, surely have many “God moments” – even as their findings sometimes challenge their hypotheses or their hoped-for outcomes.

This “imposition” of reality, as the bishop called it, is not a threat, however, for we know we were made for the truth and that, as Christ has taught us, it will make us truly free. The first reading put it in these terms, speaking of wisdom: “Motherlike she will meet him, like a young bride she will embrace him, nourish him with the bread of understanding, and give him the water of learning to drink.” Whenever we have an authentic encounter with truth-incarnate, with Jesus Christ, we also meet with His grace – that divine help that enables us to conform ourselves to Him – that enables us to allow our lives to be shaped by reality. Thus, we find sustenance, like the bread and water mentioned in this passage; we find true fulfillment.

The receptivity to Christ – truth incarnate – that faith and grace enable us to have, is what has helped Catholics to be at the forefront of so many major scientific developments down through the centuries. Like scribes “instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven,” as the Gospel relates, we joyfully harmonize new findings with old and store them up as life-giving treasures that help us on our journey to God and our total fulfillment in the dwelling place Christ has prepared for us in Heaven. There, as the psalm today expressed, all of creation will unite in praising Him in sublime harmony. Yes, even if we struggle to sing well now, we will be given fine voices there, for we will be in the warm embrace of God, in Whom there is no dissonance. There, the truth will make us forever – and together – free.