By Susanna Bolle
In the Gospel Reading today, September 20, the disciples remain confused by Jesus’ words: “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise” (Mark 9:31). This was not the first time Jesus addressed his impending passion, but the second. Of course, these words are hard, and if I put myself in the shoes of the disciples, I would be perplexed as well.
We have good reason to mull over Jesus’ words, and when I mull, I also question! Just a few of my questions to Jesus would have been, “Who is handing you over?” or “Why three days?” and “Just exactly how do you plan to rise?” However, the disciples did not take this opportunity to ask Jesus these things, for “they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him” (Mark 9:32).
Again, putting myself in the shoes of the disciples, I know that I would have been too afraid to question Jesus as well; but why? Why are we so fearful to question the Lord? After all, he is The Lord. Lord, “you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2). Are we afraid to question him, because we are afraid of His answer?
When it comes to the biggest unknowns in my life I am wary of approaching his throne because I fear his words will require me to make a sacrifice which feels too uncomfortable or a surrender that will strip me of any control which I perceive I have. Yet we are invited to be bold with the Lord, and to courageously ask Him what he means. After all, he already knows our “thoughts from afar” and not only that, but He is our friend. Regardless of whether or not we ask him for clarity, he knows exactly what our hesitancies are, and as our friend, he wants to address our doubts and lead us into a trusting relationship with Him.
I believe Jesus is challenging each one of us, including myself, to be daring and confident in our approach with Him. Ask Him the questions which are most pressing upon your heart. We need to allow Him the opportunity to be open and honest with us and give Him the time to explain Himself. He doesn’t want to leave us hanging or keep us guessing. He may not always give us an answer right away, but He will gently lead us to it. All we have to do is ask.
About the Author:
Susanna Bolle is the administrative assistant to Jeff Cavins in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. She is currently enrolled in the master’s program of divinity at the St. Paul Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.