Asking God the Wrong Question
21st Sunday Ordinary Time
August 21, 2016
“Lord, are there few in number who will be saved?”
There are times that we have questions for God, sometimes very tough questions. Therefore, it is very enlightening to look at the Scriptures to see which types of questions God answers directly, which he doesn’t, and why.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus is traveling toward Jerusalem (Luke 13:22-30). He knows his time on earth is limited, and has much to teach us about life on earth. Jesus wants the disciples to understand as much as possible about what really matters to God. In fact, all of us are on the same journey to death and life beyond, eternal life. Our time on earth is also limited, so it is essential that we also truly understand what the Lord expects of us so that we can make the best use of our time here. And this brings us to our questioner.
A person calls out from the crowd, wondering how many will actually be saved? Notice that Jesus does not answer this question directly, because this is the wrong question to be asking. God does not answer questions in this life just to satisfy our curiosity. That will come later. The real question to be asking here is not, “How many will be saved?” but “What must I do to be saved?”
Most of us have a few tough questions for the Lord, such as:, “Why must we suffer?” “Why did my loved one die?” “Why must I suffer?” “Why don’t you fully reveal yourself and convert the world, Lord?” And there are so many other questions. The answer that Jesus offers us now for suffering, death, and many other tough questions is the cross: his own. He offers his life on earth as a partial answer. The answer here from God is: “I suffered too, and it had infinite value”. United with him, what we go through has deep meaning too.
If God seems silent on many issues, when does he speak up? The questions Christ always answers are about how we treat our neighbor and how to live a life pleasing to God! This Sunday, for example, Jesus tells us not to take the easy path by merely following the crowd in committing sin! He tells us instead to pursue the narrow
way. Our life path is not meant to be “easy street”. If this is my life’s goal, I am on the
wrong path! It is only by listening to Jesus at Mass and in the Scriptures that we can have the courage to choose the tough path that leads to life when it is asked of us. The question that God always wants to answer is, “What must I do now Lord to fulfill your will? Lord, you don’t need to satisfy my curiosity now, just teach me to listen to your will”. This is the type of question Our Lord waits to answer in this life. The full explanation is yet to come.