When my brother wanted to ask me a serious question about the Faith, he found it fitting to preface it with ‘keep it short, you know, like my attention span.’ His humour was well received but it also pointed to a lesson that we all need to take very seriously. What he was really trying to communicate was, ‘just answer my question.’ And he was right to say this. Because let’s face it, when someone you love asks a question about the Faith we tend to jump to a few conclusions. Some of us see the question as the only window we may ever have to ‘convert’ them and so we keep talking and talking in the hope that something we say might win them over. Some of us end up reading into the question as if what was actually asked was merely a subtle way of getting at a deeper question, and so we try to answer that instead. And some of us know exactly what we are being asked however we find it most appropriate to answer this and any other question that they could or would or should also be asking sooner or later.
Do you remember when John the Baptist’s disciples asked Jesus ‘Where are you staying?’ Jesus’ response should be a model for all of us, he said ‘Come and see.’ The simplest way to answer their question was to show them. So just answer the question that you are asked and maybe pose one of your own but keep it simple. It is not easy for anyone in our culture to ask a sincere question about religion. So have mercy on them and keep it short.