Believing and following Christ would probably have been easier had I lived during His time on earth. I imagine myself crisscrossing the lake of Tiberias visiting the towns and villages of Galilee, to be with people or to get away from them. Or, walking the roads with Him on the way to Jerusalem or Bethany or Nazareth or Cana. If I were beset by any questions, I could just simply ask Him and He would right away give me the answer I seek.
But then again, this might be too simplistic a scenario because people during those times did indeed ask Jesus a lot of questions and there were many who still did not believe nor follow Him. In today’s Gospel, Christ is battered with questions by the people around Him.
Some of the questions were mundane, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” I also often ask Him similarly mundane questions, like “How can I see you, Lord, in my daily life when what I do is very ordinary and routine, day in and day out?”
Some of the questions were tempting or even testing God, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? In my own life, how many times have I asked for a sign from God that He is present by my side when all I have to do is to open my eyes and ears to see and to hear His presence.
Some of the questions were downright honest and appropriate, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” There are also moments when this is my own question and seek an answer for in my prayers.
Faith without doubts or questions often lapses into intolerance and fundamentalism. To be human in fact is to be always full of questions. And the more questions I encounter and ask, the more I also realize that I am not only a material being but a spiritual being as well. I realize that getting the answers to my questions make me informed and knowledgeable. But it is the act of asking the questions itself that make me truly wise and truly human.
There are questions that challenge me intellectually, like why am I here? what is life? how did the universe come about? And with the power of my mind, I learn and acquire knowledge and information.
There are questions that evoke strong emotions in me, like what am I willing to do for a loved one? why is there so much suffering and pain in this world? what is my mission in all of this? With these emotions and listening to my heart, I learn that there are reasons that the heart knows that the mind does not understand nor realize.
There are questions that come from the guts and often very difficult to answer, like what is the reason that I would want to get up in the morning and face another day? If I had but a fraction of what I have now, would I still find meaning and purpose to my life?
I usually rely on my reason and emotions trying to arrive at answers. But I also often realize that as I mull some of these questions over and over again, somehow I know that deep in my innermost core, I already have the answers that I am seeking for.