Isaac Isidor Rabi was a Nobel Prize winner scientist. As he was growing up, his mother would ask him every day, did you ask a good question today in the school? He grew up to be a great guy because he asked some great and interesting questions.
Here are some of the worst questions I have been asked.
- You don’t honestly expect me to believe that, do you?
- Haven’t you any sense of humor?
- You don’t remember me, do you?
- Have I kept you waiting?
- Are you asleep?
- WHEN are you going TO GROW UP? (1)
Today’s scripture is talking about a lawyer asking a very important question. Who will inherit the kingdom of God? What do you say about that? He asked an important question to someone who might be actually able to answer it. May be the only person who can answer it.
I have heard this before that a person is known as clever by the answer one gives, but a person is considered wise by the type of questions he or she asks. What are we? Wise or Clever or both? But the matter is, we have to ask this important question just like the lawyer, “
Who among you will inherit the kingdom of God?
Jesus answers this simply and plainly. Jesus inspires the young man to return to his childhood memory.
Jesus answers him with another question and then he leads him to the answer. He encourages him to remember his childhood learning and then teaches him what spiritual discernment is all about.
What is written simply written in the scriptures was not what was answer to the question. Something very important here is the second part of the question. How do you read it? What is written can be interpreted in many ways. But what you read in them in your heart will speak of what God intends it to be for that moment, if we listen to God within.
In essence Jesus is teaching this young man, a lesson in spiritual discernment. I prayed that the Lord will teach me discernment. Are there anyone among us who is interested in spiritual discernment? Here is the answer for those who would like to discern God’s will. Who are blessed with the gifts of discernment?
If you are able to differentiate between good and evil, then you are capable of spiritual discernment. (Good is helping, evil is ignoring, leaving him by the side)
If you are able to differentiate between justice and injustice then you are blessed with the gift of discernment. 1kg 3: 19) (This man was unjustly treated not once, but three times. By the robbers, the priest and the Levite)
Do you have prudence? Do you have the necessary knowledge and discretion? Then you are closer to the Lord. (Job 6: 30, Pro 8: 12) (What is more important? Life of the other or worship?)
Gift of discernment also is an internal knowledge as when to do the things we are called to do. (Eccl 8: 4) (Obviously the priest didn’t and so did the Levite. Both chosen to know it)
When you can refuse evil for good, then you are blessed with the gift of spiritual discernment. (Is 7: 14)
The one who does not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, then they are spiritually wise and discerning. (Is: 11: 3)
You are wise and spiritually blessed when you have seen the sins of your fathers and mothers, and do not repeat them. But rather overcomes the temptation to fall into them and moves away from them. (Eze 18: 14) (parents have kept the law and so did the children)
He or she is spiritually wise, if he or she can see with her eyes, hear with her ears but more listen with his or her heart and see what God shows him or her. (Dan 5: 12) This was the gift of Daniel and the prophets. And many among us.
Yet another is the one who knows white from black and black from white. Simply meaning, he is of discerning spirit when he can repent of his sins and return to the Lord.
It is through spiritual discernment we will understand what love ultimately is. It is love, that Jesus is talking about here. The young man knew the law. But Jesus asks, “How does he read it”. What is in his heart as he reads it? Is it a literary work? or is a communication of care from God? He is inviting this young friend to begin to love and understand as life begins only when we begin to love. Isn’t it?
When you fall in love with someone there is such energy, life and exuberance, people will do all kinds of crazy things. Because life is ultimately meant to be lived fully. When Jesus asks the question, Jesus was inviting this young man to begin to actually love for real, rather than contain the law as is in his head. He is inviting him to make it alive in his heart. Life only when begins when love is real.
When does life begin? Here are answers from three different people.
A Catholic priest was asked when life began and he answered, “Life begins at conception.”
A Jewish rabbi was asked when life began and he responded, “Life begins at birth.”
A Protestant minister was asked, and she said, “Life begins when the last child goes off to college and the dog dies.” (3)
Life begins when love is recognized. Love is recognized by those whose heart can discern the presence of God in every moment of life. This scripture is not simply about the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan. It is about those whose hearts are closed and whose minds are searching. This scripture is about those who are searching for truth while not recognizing the truth was being manifested. We all fail to live, because we fail to discern what is important to God. Rather we are captured by what is important to man.
There is a story told of Francis of Assisi who one day, on a road in Perusia, came across a leper. He was deathly afraid of leprosy, but impulsively he ran to the man and embraced him tenderly. And then he suddenly had the overwhelming sense that there in his arms was Jesus Christ — and just as suddenly the man disappeared.
Discern Christ in the one by the wayside, in the one next to you and in ourselves. Discern Christ at all costs and all moments. But first remember, it all begins with a question, “how do you read the directions of the Lord in your hearts”. Discernment begins at the moment a person reads God in his heart and not the words attributed to God.