In other words, we live in a culture that rejects objective truth. “That may be true for you, but not for me,” people say. Or, “Anybody’s opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s.” We’ve all been affected by these attitudes.
But Jesus taught something very different. He taught that he is the truth (see Jn 14:6), and he established a Church that he promised would teach the truth (see Jn 16:13). He calls us to accept that. We are free not to accept it. But it’s a terribly weighty decision that we dare not take lightly.
Approaching the matter from a purely practical perspective, it only makes sense that Christ would establish a definitive authority on earth to make his will known. Otherwise, interpreting Scripture and determining God’s will on issues with eternal consequences would amount to a guessing game. A God-given authority on earth is essential to maintain unity in faith.
—from Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West, Ch. 2: Who Says – Church Authority and Other Preliminary Questions
Here is a little scene that easily could happen: The manager of a manufacturing plant takes one of his workers over to a new machine that has just been installed. It is a huge and complicated machine. The manager says to the workman, “Now I am going to put you in charge of this machine. If you do a good job with it, you’ll get a bonus of five thousand dollars at the end of the year. But it is an expensive machine; if you mess it up, out you go on your ear. Here is a book that explains the machine. Now get to work!”
“Wait a minute!” the worker well might say. “If this is going to mean the difference between a pile of money and no job at all, I want more than a book. A book is too easy to misunderstand. And besides, you can’t ask questions of a book. How about getting somebody over here from the place where they make these machines? He can tell me all about it and see that I get it straight.”
Jesus in his physical, visible presence returned to heaven on Ascension Thursday. Nevertheless he contrived a means by which he still could remain with us as our teacher, until the end of time. With his twelve apostles as the core, the nucleus, Jesus fashioned a new kind of body for himself. It is a mystical rather than a physical body by means of which he remains upon earth. The cells of this body are people, rather than protoplasm. The head of the body is Jesus himself, and the soul of the body is the Holy Spirit. The voice of the body, continuing to speak to us, teach us and to guide us, is the voice of Christ himself. This body, the mystical body of Christ, we call the Church.
—from The Faith Explained by Leo J. Trese, Ch 1: The Purpose of Man’s Existence