Gospel Luke 9:18-24
“Who do you say I am?”
American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, is often quoted as saying “Nothing is worse than the answer to a question no one is asking.”
When we read today’s Gospel we engage with an exchange that hinges on a question – a question which when asked is like a bell that cannot be un-rung.
This is the question. The question. One that continues to confront every Christian today, and with the same force as it had nearly two thousand years ago, when Christ first addressed it to the disciples.
We might however wonder if this question is still being asked. It would seem, at least at face value, that the majority of people are content without asking this question, or are happily distracted from the idea that it needs to be asked.
If we are honest with ourselves however, it would seem that living in each of us there is a hope; a hope that there is more, than an answer does exist, and that that answer is indeed wonderful.
We suppress the existence of the question because we have lost hope that there is an answer, and yet, the very idea that an answer does exist thrills us, it sits on the boundary of our existence and opens up our otherwise fixed horizons. Can it be true?
Fr Luigi Giussani points out, that ‘[o]nly the hypothesis of God, only the affirmation of the mystery as a reality existing beyond our capacity to fathom entirely, only this hypothesis corresponds to the human person’s original structure.’ (57)
This question imposes itself on us today, and everyday – “Who do you say I am?” Jesus asks us, and he patiently awaits a response
Point to Ponder
“Only the hypothesis of God, only the affirmation of the mystery as a reality existing beyond our capacity to fathom entirely, only this hypothesis corresponds to the human person’s original structure. If it is human nature to indomitably search for an answer, if the structure of a human being is, then, this irresistible and inexhaustible question, plea—then one suppresses the question if one does not admit to the existence of an answer. But this answer cannot be anything but unfathomable. Only the existence of the mystery suits the structure of the human person, which is mendicity, insatiable begging, and what corresponds to him is neither he himself nor something he gives to himself, measures, or possesses.”
- Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense (McGill-Queens University Press, 1997), 57