Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Holy Week Reflections, Part III: Questioning Of Jesus

There will be no Ten (or Observations) at all this week. Instead, I'll be doing a reflection on an event that corresponds to each day of Holy Week, all the way through Easter Sunday itself. It is a purification of sorts; to remind oneself that it isn't always about this world and this life. Politics, sports, and culture are all important, but in the end, we aren't taking any of those things beyond. The Ten will resume on Monday, April 4. -- J.L.

After Jesus had driven the merchants and money changers out of the Temple, the conspiracy had heated up and the authorities began looking for ways to entrap him in speech. They attempted to do this through a series of questions that were meant to make him look bad, whether it was asking by what authority he performed his signs, or whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or by posing a hypothetical about whose wife a woman would be at the Resurrection of the Dead.

Each time, Jesus was able to expose their questions for the silly entrapment attempts they were and provide a deeper understanding of the issues involved. It was clear that his authority was heavenly; that we are to give ourselves to God since we are made in his image and likeness; and that marriage is something for the people of this world, not the next.

In our everyday lives, we often tend to miss the forest for the trees, so to speak. That is, we miss the point of why we are here and why we exist. We tend to debate the little questions because either we don’t want to address the big ones or we don’t even know what the big questions are!

It is so important to keep sight of those big questions, as uncomfortable as they may be. God asks us those often – “are you ready to follow me?” or “can you deny yourself and take up your cross?” These are not easy questions, and we want to either avert our eyes or change the subject. We need to have the strength to answer them, one way or another – for Jesus himself says that lukewarm followers make him sick (cf. Revelation 3:16). We do not have to do this alone; God will give the strength through his grace to make a positive answer, even when you feel alone.

Stand up for truth, and the answers to these questions become a lot easier for us all. We must avoid acting as the Pharisees and Scribes when they were completely unopened to the Truth who stood right in their midst. We must be open to him who is the Truth, and it is only when that happens that we are truly free to answer those difficult questions that are posed to us.

How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever (Psalm 92:5-7).

Kyrie Eleison.

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