The choices of a lifetime
JESUS IS THE QUESTION
BACK IN THE 1970s, a popular bumper sticker proclaimed: “Jesus is the Answer.” The implication was that Jesus is the universal fix for whatever ails us. No matter the question, Jesus provides the response.
I’m not here to dispute that. What’s at least as true, however, is that Jesus is the Question. Who do you say that I am? What do you want me to do for you? Who is my neighbor? What is truth? The gospels are chock full of interrogatives. Jesus raises some of them personally. Others are asked by those who find themselves in conversation with Jesus. Normally, the inquirer arrives with a sure set of answers. By the end of the exchange, what’s clear is that one can be very wrong about things that seemed perfectly obvious.
Recently Pope Francis identified a big problem in priestly formation: the lack of discernment. The pope says: “In education we are used to dealing with black and white formulas, but not with the gray areas of life. And what matters is life, not formulas.” Life is, of course, where Jesus aims his questions: into the thicket of personal experience, where formulas are often ill fitting. Who is my neighbor? The guy I call enemy. What is truth? “Who” is a better question.
Discernment, the pope says, means moving forward through the gray of life according to the will of God, “not in the rigidity of an abstract doctrine.” It’s a trust walk through unknown territory. It’s rarely a confident stroll through certainty.
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications
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