How to Answer the Questions Jesus Asked

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Jesus primarily spread the gospel through questions. He asked many questions of those who followed him, even his own mother!

In his book Answering the Questions of Jesus, Father Andrew Apostoli, CFR explains some of these questions and how we should be answering them.

Do you know the answers to these six questions Christ asked during his time on earth?

1. Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?

Fr. Apostoli writes, “When Jesus asks His parents why they didn’t go directly to His ‘Father’s house,’ He is, first of all, as we’ve said, revealing His relationship to His Heavenly Father. He continues to be Mary and Joseph’s son; as we saw in the Gospel, He went back to Nazareth and ‘was obedient to them.'”

This is a great reminder that Christ spent three decades with the Holy family, living in Nazareth. He was getting ready for his mission work. “But He was also the Son of the Eternal Father. His parents can’t quite grasp this, but Mary ponders it in her heart…But there’s a second takeaway from these questions of Jesus: He is telling us where to find Him,” Father Apostoli explains.

2. Why are you afraid, have you no faith?

“Faith also has a second aspect, this one related to the heart– or, more specifically, the confidence we have to live according to the faith. In this sense, faith is like trust,” explains Father Apostoli.

This is a similar message that we read in Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews.

“Again, let’s take the idea of Heaven. Not only do we believe it exists, but we also have confidence (‘assurance’) that we will achieve the Kingdom of Heaven with God’s grace. When Jesus dealt with people, He wanted them not only to believe in the truth that He taught, but also to have confidence in organizing their lives around those truths…Jesus had to teach that kind of trust to His disciples. If the people were going to follow Him, they had to trust Him,” Father Apostoli writes.

3. Will you also go away?

“Jesus is telling His Apostles that if they can’t handle His teaching on the Eucharist, then they should walk away as well,” Fr. Apostoli writes about Christ’s famous bread of life discourse.

“That’s how insistent He is on this teaching. And that’s why we say in the Church that the Eucharist is the source and center of the Christian life. In response, Peter, acting as a spokesman for the apostles, affirms their faith and trust in Jesus. At this point they probably did not understand how Jesus could possibly feed them with His flesh and blood– just as we don’t understand what Jesus wants from us. Even so, they believed He was the one whom the Father had sat, so they trusted Him. Unlike the disciples who left, they believed without seeing the proof with their own eyes. That faith was rewarded at the Last Supper, when Jesus formally instituted the Eucharist.”

4. Do you know what I have done to you?

“By performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, we will not only be fulfilling Jesus’ teaching in this Gospel story but will also be building the ‘civilization of love’ that Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict, and Pope Francis have talked about,” Father Apostoli explains.

“Remember the old saying, ‘It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.’ If we see all the problems in the world and just throw up our hands and walk away, then we’re avoiding our responsibilities. But if we light one candle, others will be encouraged to do the same. We can change the world, as Mother Teresa would say, one person at a time. The second way we can answer this question of Jesus is by honestly asking ourselves: What has Jesus done for me?”

5. For what can a man gain in return for his life?

To this question, Fr. Apostoli heeds us to keep our death in mind: “We need to live with the end of our lives in mind. Heaven will fulfill our every desire. All the happiness, beauty, and joy we can find in this life are but a tiny reflection of the happiness, beauty, and joy of God Himself. Heaven is going to fulfill every hope we’ve ever had; every dream will come true. And Hell will fulfill every dread we’ve ever had; every nightmare will come true. The stakes are high. It’s eternal happiness or eternal misery. We have to live each day making sure we follow the way that will lead us to Christ.”

“That’s the purpose of Jesus’ questions in this chapter. It can be shocking to hear Our Lord talk about the lengths we should go to in order to see Heaven and avoid Hell. He famously said, ‘If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell’ (Matthew 5:29)…The point is that there should be nothing in this life that we should be unwilling to sacrifice if it stands in the way of our getting to heaven.”

6. Do you love me?

“Peter’s reconciliation with Christ should give us courage. In spite of his denial, he is still entrusted with the great work of the Church. We should never use our failures as an excuse to stop trying to serve the Lord. The Lord restores us. He gives us the grace and the strength because we can’t do it by ourselves. Like Peter, we begin again,” Father Apostoli writes.”

“Pope St. John XXIII said that when we die, the Lord will only ask us one question: ‘How much did you love me?’ We can prepare for answering that question by asking ourselves as if Jesus Himself were addressing us: ‘Do you love me?’ How would we answer that right now? ‘Do you love me?’ That’s the question.”

For further insights and answers to these questions and others, pick up a copy of Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR’s book Answering the Questions of Jesus.

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