Thursday 4 June 2020

Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Word for today
The Gospel of Mark 12:28b-34

Silent question

The scribes, the Pharisees, and the leaders of the Jewish people are asking questions about Jesus, and while they are trying to understand something about him they are doing everything in their power to make others not understand Him. They are playing unfairly, setting traps and asking tricky questions. People ask questions, philosophers ask questions, questions are asked at school, in relationships, at work, in politics, in science.
But why don't the Pharisees ever accept any of Jesus'answers? Why don't the torturers ever accept the answers of the people they are torturing? Why have philosophers not yet answered even one of their questions after thousands of years? Why is the teacher never completely satisfied by his/her students' answers?
Why is the answer to a question never completelysatisfying? And why does the mind that has received a complete set of answers stil unable to find peace? Maybe because there is a longing for novelty, knowledge, research?
Not at all.
Untruthfulness and deception are never in the answer butthere are lies, deception, bias in the question.
The answer does not exist because there is no real question. The question is always false, misleading, it is always covering up something slippery, slanted, or naive.
Try to answer a woman who is asking your opinion about a dress: "How does it look on me?" You have been trapped. Try to answer the question: "Do you love me?" You have been  trapped. You have entered a labyrinth of dark circuits with no way out. A question is not a sign of ignorance, but of unwillingness to know. That is why, answering an unstated question in a dialogue is the most slippery form of communication and the quickest way to break it off.
A question always implies lack of knowledge, but not from an informative and intellectual perspective, rather it shows a lack of perception.
If you go out in the street and your skin does not feel the temperature because of a skin problem, you do not perceive what the temperature is outside. If you cannot feel how hot or cold it is and you do not know what the temperature outside is, you have only two possibilities: imitating what others are wearing or inquiring.
The question implies that you do not know, you lack some knowledge and you needan explanation or information. The philosophers' question about the meaning of life is fundamentallyfalse, it is intrinsically deceptive and useless just because it has been asked. If you do not perceive the meaning of life, if you do not sense it, if you do not feel it in your heart, how can someone else explain it to you? And even if someone does tell you, what will you do? Will you believe him? Will you blindly accept his word? Probably not, it would be foolish. As result, you willbegin to argue and to discuss, you will express your opinion, and in doing so will provoke controversy, comparisons, opinions, assumptions, arguments, words, violence, ideologies, divisions in groups, parties and philosophies.
The greatest sign that the person does not want real answers, especially about  a specific situation occurring in life, is the fact that he/she asks questions precisely about that situation. The question does not want an answer, the mind knows there is no answer and that it is unnecessary, it simply wants to feed its own self-esteem. Questions of any kind denote only a deep craving for self-contemplation. Consistent with this subtle, perverse process, people can decide to make an appointment with a magician, someone they have never met, to ask questions about about his/her love affairs. People can ask their questions through tarot cards or small colored stones, or coffee grinds... When a mind asks questions it means that it cannot hear, it does not want to hear, it does not want to change, and especially that it does not want answers. It is paradoxical, but true.
When a person is well, serene, loved, he/she does not ask questions, he/she lives, faces reality, struggles, does what is needed and enjoys life. But when something bad happens, then questions begin. "Why me, or why not to me, why now, why did it have to happen." When one falls  deeply in love and feels full of positive energy, he/she never wonders why he/she wants to live with that person, he/she just does it, but not in an irresponsible manner, ratherwith love, dedication, without questions, without answers, simply following what he/she feels. If something starts to go wrong and to create suffering in that relationship, questions begin to be asked. There is a search for answers that are never sufficient, that cannot give an explanation but will only slowly crumble the rock on which love and joy were first based.
Questions, even the most legitimate and right ones, are always false, even if asked in good faith and with good intentions. Questions are always the first cause of ending any dialogue.
The same is true for the question made to Jesus in this passage from the Gospel. It is false, it is a lie, although made in good faith and with a certain amount of humility.
After thousands of years of Jewish religious tradition, a scribe, a Bible expert, asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment, that is what is the heart of Jewish law. It is as if a farmer asked Jesus if wheat is sown on earth or on sea. It is as if someone of the Jewish leaders and theologians of that time had some doubt about the fact that the heart of all laws, the purpose of life, the aim of divine revelation and of the history of salvation is something different from Loving God and neighbor.
Jesus shows himself to be a master of elegance and dplomacy as He never directly answers question asked of  Him. Jesus knows that  questions do not come from a true desire for an answer, but from the desire to not change.
We find confirmation of this in all of  Jesus' answers in the Gospel, Jesus responds by in turn asking questions, whose aims are to reveal the sordidness and deception of the questions asked of Him.
The unbreakable bond between question-lie is  clearer and more evident in those made in bad faith, but the mechanism is the same for all questions which, every day are madefor good reasons and in good faith.
Before He gave you life, God did not ask you if you wanted it. He did not ask you if you wanted to be saved, but He fulfilled His mystery of salvation in Jesus, and that is it. He did not ask, He did not make enquiries. In nature there are no questions, no answers, there is life, whole, full, terrible and beautiful, day and night under a twinklingsky in the desert or in a storm at a glaciertop. Galaxies rotate without questions and answers, two seeds meet and a child is born, water flows in rivers, the wind blows around the world. Fish do not make enquiries about the ocean, nor the trees about the forest.
And when Jesus saw that (he) answered with understanding, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God. Here is how intelligence is useful, not for asking questions or wondering, but for recognizing that God is God, He is One and there is no other God. Loving God with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself is everything in life. The rest is vain use of cerebral and vocal capacities; it is deception and falsehood.