Submitted by Father Peter Ullrich osb, Chaplain Conception Seminary &
St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church, Tarkio, Mo.
In the four gospels, Jesus asks his disciples and those who came to him any number of questions. But there are five that are most helpful in our reflection on WHO Jesus is and HOW we approach him. Those five questions are these:
What are you looking for? John 1:38
Who do you say that I am? Matthew 16:15 / Mark 8:29
What do you want me to do for you? Mark 10:51
Has no one condemned you? John 8: 10
Do you love me? John 21:15 ff
As we read and reflect on the Scriptures and especially the Gospels we engage in dialog with Jesus and are faced with Jesus speaking to us. Our prayerful reading of the Gospels challenges us to take a careful look at how we live, how we approach the Lord, and ultimately what Jesus is asking of each of us. And then we are prompted to action whether in our interior growth, faith-life or in our reaching out to others.
A careful look at these questions shows that they form a pattern for how we approach the Lord Jesus. What are you looking for? This comes from that first encounter between Jesus and the fishermen whom he was calling to follow him. John the Baptist had pointed Him out and they returned, looking for more. And Jesus invites them to follow him. Perhaps the most familiar of these is – Who do you say that I am? Jesus speaks directly to his apostles and pushes them to confirm who they believe him to be. Peter replies: the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The third is perhaps one of the more tender questions from Jesus – What do you want me to do for you? Here is the Master, the Teacher turning to look at us and asks – what is it that you need? How can I help you? Easily this is a wonderful introduction to our conversations with the Lord. We frequently ask many favors of Jesus, we bring many people, many needs to Jesus in our prayer. And we know that Jesus very much wants us to turn to him, to ask for strength, for an increase of faith, for anything as we know. One of the things we seek of the Lord is forgiveness which we see in the encounter in John 8 – who is it that condemns you? Nor do I. Jesus came to save us all from sin, to bring new life, to restore us to God’s favor. Finally – Do you love me? Jesus asked Peter and us this very personal question. These questions lay out for us the path of our encounter with the Lord – we are CALLED, asked to declare our FAITH, TRUST, invited to ASK for what we need, to seek and receive FORGIVENESS, and to show our LOVE. Once again Jesus shows us the way.