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Father Muench Says...

Questions and answers

June 12, 2024

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Take your questions to the Lord. Our Lord Jesus welcomes our questions. Our questions are important opportunities to learn more about our savior, Jesus Christ. I believe the Lord will lead us to find the truth. We must be patient, but the answers will come.

Our questions are like prayers. As we bring our questions to the Lord, our Lord joins us in a special way.

Lord, who should I pray for today? Lord is there something important for me to do today?

Bring your questions to the Lord. The Lord welcomes us and our questions.

I thought of this today because of the Gospel reading at today’s morning Mass – a Mass I was celebrating. St. Mark’s story is about a question. In this case, it is the Pharisees who question Jesus. They often brought questions to Jesus in an attempt to trap him in his speech. In this case, the question was, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”

As you may remember in those days, the Hebrew people in Israel were under the rule of the Roman invaders. So, these taxes were given to the Romans. Jesus did not want to get into a political question. His answer was carefully thought out, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” It is rather obvious what belonged to Caesar. Jesus extends the question in an effort that the Pharisees and his followers of all time will not forget to consider what belongs to God. You and I owe so much gratitude to our creator. We owe so much gratitude to our Savior, the Savior who lived among us, who teaches and guides us, who died for us, who brought us to new life through his resurrection. Our gratitude must be immense. Indeed, we owe so much to our God. Jesus truly extended the original question so that it became an important message to his followers of all time.

Questions – our prayers are often simply questions. Are you listening to me, Lord? Do you realize what I am going through today, Lord?

We would like some sort of immediate indication of some sort. I truly believe that if we listen carefully, if we truly watch carefully, we will be aware that the Lord’s attention is always upon us. The Lord will find a unique way of reaching out to us.

Let me share with you my personal experience. I want you to know that since my ordination, I usually take some time in prayer – prayer filled with questions – each time I prepare a homily or a retreat talk. Lord, what do I say to these people? I smile when someone is gracious enough to congratulate me on how good a talk was. I know all too well that it was the Lord Jesus who truly inspired me to say the right thing.

Even in situations when I needed to help someone with the right words, I immediately come up with a good message. Then as I look back, I wonder how I ever came up with the right words. Of course, I know only too well. It should be obvious to me – the Lord was right there, always ready to help me.

So, I want to tell you, keep the Lord close. I know well from my own experience that he welcomes our questions and he answers them all. Our Lord never fails us. And be ready for many surprises. I have a friend who calls the Holy Spirit, the God of surprises.

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