Reflections of a Mission-focused African Catholic Priest, Fr. Peter Konteh

THE QUESTION OF QUESTIONS

“But who do you say that I am?” This question resonates in the heart of a young person struggling with concupiscence and the glamour of sin. It’s a question that whispers in the minds of a couple striving to keep the right balance in their relationship. The question is pondered by the widow or single mum struggling to provide for her young children, not knowing where the next meal will come from. It is a question contemplated by the public servant faced with the challenge of serving with integrity even as everyone else seems to be stealing with impunity. The same question bothers the mind of a priest or religious struggling with the demands of his/her vocation. We all need to answer this question in our everyday decisions, if we are to have the right relationship with the Lord.

To be clear, this question is not indicative of an identity crisis on the part of Jesus, but was rather meant to check whether his closest disciples knew that he was the promised Messiah. Surely, Jesus knew who he was as Scripture tells us that even at the age of twelve, he referred to the Temple as, “my Father’s house” (Luke 2:49). Elsewhere, he asserts his divinity by saying that: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). So, there is no question about him not knowing who he was.

“But who do you say that I am?” Some of us see Jesus as a contractor, and so they cultivate a give-and-take mindset in their faith journey. When life is good they praise the Lord but when difficult moments arise, like sickness or death in the family, they start to grumble that God has let them down, and such questions arise as to why God would let them suffer. We’ve all heard statements like: “Why am I still unmarried? Why am I still without a child? Why did God let my wife die? Why am I still without a job after many years of graduation? I go to Mass every day and do a lot of good works in the parish, so why is all this happening to me? This surely calls for self-examination by everyone!

Further, some of us take Jesus to be a hit man who will help them deal with their enemies. We are familiar with expressions like: “God will punish them” or “Holy Ghost fire consume them”. Next, there are some who see Jesus as a politician that promises to build bridges where there are no rivers. When someone brings stolen money as offering to church asking for a blessing, he/she is asking for a bridge where there is no river. When we invite the priest to come and bless a house or car that was acquired fraudulently, we are asking for a bridge where there is no river. It is also a scandal when the Church knowingly accepts endowments from people of questionable character. Sure, Holy Scripture is emphatic that God cannot be deceived!

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Source: Globe Afrique Media

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About Cholo Brooks 5134 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.