Friday, September 25, 2009

Good Question

Between yesterday's homily and today's Gospel, I am alert to the questions in the Gospels. They all started popping into my mind, from Herod's curious "Who is Jesus?" to Peter's rhetorical "Lord, to whom shall we go?"
I'm starting to notice that, apostles aside, those who asked Jesus questions didn't really seem to want the answers. Think of Pilate: "What is truth?" It was a dismissal, not a question. And when certain leaders of the people came to Jesus and asked, "Who gave you the authority to do these things?" that was more veiled threat than sincere inquiry. (Jesus called their bluff with a question of his own: "Where did John's baptism come from?") Even Nicodemus, who came to Jesus as a sincere, if fearful, inquirer, laughed off the Lord's declaration about being "born again": "Can a man enter his mother's womb a second time and be born again?" (Why didn't he just ask, "What do you mean?") The only exception seems to be the rich young man, who asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?" But he was young, too young to have protected himself from the answer to his earnest question. Next time, he would know better than to ask Jesus a real question.
Jesus' questions have a whole different flavor. They are the questions of a teacher, starting from his very first question at age 12: "Why were you looking for me?" or today's "Who do people say the Son of Man is? Who do you say the Son of Man is?"
What question in the Gospels seems the most pertinent to you?

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