Jesus Preaching, by Rembrandt van Rijn

How do you draw the face of the most perfect man who ever lived, never having seen him? That was Rembrandt’s challenge, and he met it as he composed this serene, gentle and questioning countenance.

It is amazing how often, in discourse and conversation, our Lord asked questions. And these questions continue to contain answers a hearer can discover, the more he reflects upon them.

That was the way Socrates taught, realizing that a really good question should already contain its answer, if the question be truly understood.

That’s why the best teacher I ever had required us, in a final exam, not to answer his questions, but to ask ten questions that would prove how well we could synthesize his course. The questions, he’d say, should grow out of and toward one another, containing the answers as a seed contains the bud.

Here Jesus seems to be asking, “What can a man offer in exchange for his life?” (Mark 8:37) The answer is there, if we properly evaluate each word. It is implicit, too, in his question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15) Peter gave answer for us all, since to know Jesus is to have seen the Father also. (John 14:9)

A true answer is always the echo of a question. So it should be our ambition to echo, without distortion, the question he continues to ask us: “Will you also go away?” (John 6:67) Then everything we say or do will proclaim that Jesus has the words of eternal life, that there is no other way to truth that has not found life in him.

From Meditations on Some Art I Have Loved

By Fr. Hilary Sweeney, C.P.

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