Jesus Christ the King

11-20-2021(Being) Catholic MattersDavid Lins

Did you ever notice how often Jesus answers a question with another question? It turns out, in all four Gospel accounts, Jesus answering a question with a question is the norm, rather than the exception. Since He calls Himself “the way” (Jn 14:6) there must be something for us to learn and imitate from this, as in everything Jesus says and does.

There are two helpful lessons we can learn from Jesus’ questioning: One involves being a better missionary, and the second involves being a better friend. It’s worth looking at each.

As baptized Catholics, Jesus’ missionary mandate to “go and make disciples” (Mt 28:19) is addressed to each of us personally. Often, when an opportunity to share our faith with someone presents itself, we feel hesitant and uncertain. Surely helpful tips are appreciated. What would Jesus do?

We may, for example, be put on the spot and asked, “Why do you stay in the Catholic church with all the scandals going on?” By doing what Jesus did...answering with a question...perhaps we might say, “Would you leave your family because some members are doing the wrong thing?” This might cause the questioner to reflect more deeply on an essential aspect of the mystery of the church, as the family of God.

Using this technique to be a better friend can help tense conversations take a different turn, whether we are speaking with a friend, co-worker, boss, or spouse. Suppose someone asks, “Why do you always say that?” A question-response might be, “How does it make you feel when I say that?” Defenses may come down and their response might give insight into how to make things better. A key to better communication is to listen from the heart without prejudice and to gently try to uncover underlying, unspoken issues. Tactful questioning can help.

As it turns out, we humans don’t always know what we are seeking. Our questions can be asked out of defensiveness, curiosity, boredom, or the desire to prove someone wrong. This questioning technique learned from Jesus can help lower defenses and facilitate more fruitful discussion by causing people to reflect. When someone gently probes instead of answering directly, they can help us to know what’s really in our heart....that sacred place where God dwells.