Do you always want a quick answer? Our society wants instant solutions to our questions, but is this always good? In the teaching profession there is an oft quoted phrase: ‘learn as if you are going to live forever’. If a student gets an instant answer to their question from the teacher, then they will stop thinking about that problem and not take the opportunity to deepen their understanding. Jesus was a great teacher. Have you noticed how often he responded to a question or statement with another question? For example: ‘Why do you call me good?’; ‘Who do you say that I am?’; ‘What does the law of Moses say?’; ‘How do you read it?’; ‘Which of these was a neighbour to the man?’ In the Gospel reading assigned to this week, we have another incidence where Jesus asks a question before giving any answers. On the road to Emmaus, one of the travellers, Cleopas, asks Jesus, ‘Are you the only one who hasn’t heard all about the things that have happened in Jerusalem in the last few days?’ Jesus’ reply is simply, ‘What things?’ On the face of it, it is an extraordinary question, since Jesus knows, better than anyone, what the things were. Why does Jesus ask this question? Is it because Jesus wants them to articulate their thinking and so consolidate, or deepen, their understanding of the whole resurrection event? In a sense, our response to the resurrection is the most important question in history. Our response to the resurrection is what has divided humanity throughout history and still does today. Do we ignore it, reject it or accept it?
In this, the third Sunday after Easter all four Bible passages assigned to this week focus on the resurrection and our response to it. In the New Testament reading, Peter says we must ‘turn from our sins (repent), turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ’. In the epistle reading, Peter again, speaking later, says, ‘we can place our faith and hope confidently in God’. Of course, there is much more to be said. We can only scratch the surface of what the resurrection means for us today. The answers can be found in Scripture, tradition, experience and reason. In order to get to these answers, and so grow in our faith, we must continually ask questions and not always seek an instant solution.
New Testament reading for this week: Acts 2:14, 36-41
Gospel reading for this week: Luke 24: 13-35
Epistle reading for this week: 1 Peter 1:17-23
Psalm for this week: 116:1-4, 12-19