Testing – 1 – 2 – 3

Jn 6:5-6 He said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do. [1]

Why Philip? Jesus seems to have a soft spot in His heart for Philip.  Phil is a regular in John’s Gospel.  So why test Philip…why ask the question if He knew what He was going to do?

According to His question, we need to get food…the “real” question seemed to be “where?” All this with the crowd of 5000 hurrying up the mountain. Where is Hebrew National Catering when you need them?

Jesus, do You test me in the same way? Do You pose questions in my life which are so overwhelming, so mind-boggling, so infinite in their complexity and implications that I cannot possibly answer them? I think you do!!!..in fact, I know You do! What is life? Why am I here? Why Death? Why did Robin Williams commit suicide and Lauren Bacall die? Why don’t you answer me, God? Why all the killings, the violence, the insanity? Why the natural disasters if You are a good God? Why? Why? Why? These are the in-your-face questions that hit me ever time I power-up my computer, get a text or turn on the TV.  And what is terribly, horribly, agonizingly missing is any ability to understand the reason behind these realities…to understand what we, as a species, have, for the most part, given up understanding and euphemistically call these “mysteries of life.”

“Why do You do this to me?” I am tempted to ask. “What have I ever done to You to deserve this….this emotional anguish…this mental impotence?”

There are no words to answer these questions. Of this You were aware from all eternity. Of this You foretold time and again. Your only answer is YOU!  Right here, right now, in the flesh.

The answer is not a theological dogma, not a philosophical platitude, not a beautiful artistic artifice. The answer is a rough hewn, wooden  upright pillar and a cross-piece laying notched on the top…and You, nailed hands and feet to it… bloody, scourged, crowned, trembling, dehydrated, gasping of breath as your lungs fill with fluid, dying…and the question WHY…therein is the ultimate WHY, screamed to the heavens, splintering the cedars of Lebanon, roaring with fiery flame, shaking the desert of Kadesh. [Ps 29: 5,7,8] and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.[Lk 23:44]

You point to Yourself there and say: That’s why…not screaming, not raving, but praying: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”[Lk 23:34] Be still and know that I am God. [Ps 46:10]

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. [Jn 3:16-17]

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, forgive me, for I know not what I have done. Amen. Alleluia!!!

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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