If you ever place yourself in a position where you will answer anyone’s question, you have probably found out that some people can present fairly challenging questions, especially if there are children involved. The pope was at a parish just over a week ago and they had things set up for a question-and-answer session with youngsters as he often does. He had some typical questions but then there was a young boy who wanted to ask a question and walked up to the microphone but couldn’t get up the nerve to ask it. Eventually the pope asked if he just wanted to tell it to him privately, and he did and they talked about it a few minutes. Then the pope asked if he could share what they said, and the boy said he could.
The boy had a very serious and important question. The young boy asked about his father who had died a little while ago who the boy described as a nonbeliever. The boy wanted to know if his father was in heaven. If you want the full article describing this it was in the Review last week and you can read about it from Catholic News Services, (http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2018/is-my-dad-in-heaven-little-boy-asks-pope.cfm) When the pope responded he didn’t cite a specific rule about what we need to do to go to heaven, but rather said “God is the one who says who goes to heaven,” and then they talked about God. I think it was a great example of if you really understand something you don’t need the other person to be an expert in the field to explain it to them, but you can explain it in a very simple manner for anyone to understand.
While I’m glad I’ve never had such an important and challenging question myself in such a public manner, I think it is good to seriously ask ourselves these type of questions at times. And don’t just try to answer them in the most complex, nuanced, and educated way that we can, but also consider at the same time the most straight forward and simple manner in which we can answer it, for a child, or for ourselves. If we can’t answer most questions about our faith and say how it shows our love for God or one another, or God’s love for us, I don’t know if we have much of an answer. That doesn’t mean that the answer is always going to be what you want to hear, but hopefully we will value our faith and be humble enough to hear answers to our even most challenging questions. Maybe not challenging in that they are difficult to answer but challenging to live out what we realize they ask of us.
So what is the last challenging question you’ve had in your life? And how did you answer it?
Congratulations and thank you to our music director, Dr. Adam Thomé, and our choir for their performance last Sunday of John Rutter’s Requiem. We appreciate the music for worship at Mass each week and this was a fantastic special performance.