A Sixth Grader’s Question

RcA6Aaxpi“When did Jesus know he was God?” asked the twelve-year-old. I thought to myself, “A developmental question” from someone developing herself. I quickly needed to answer because, as you know, priests have all the answers on the cuffs of their shirts without thinking about it. (If it’s French cuffs then you aspire higher than the mere priesthood.)

My first response was incorrect (I don’t have French cuffs) but I corrected myself later. I first said, “His resurrection” with all the confidence of being the older guy in front of these young, growing minds. They bought it. But I didn’t.

Thinking about my answer while answering another piercing question, I thought the “resurrection” is more about completion than an emerging knowledge. When you see the pay raise in your paycheck, you realize it’s because of the work you’ve done. That’s the resurrection to me. Jesus got a pay raise, but it was earned before his New-Easter-Being.

I interrupted the Q&A to backtrack and take back my first impulsive answer. I told the growing girl and her classmates that Jesus realized “Who he was” in the garden scene, after the Last Supper, alone with his sleepy followers. They slept while Jesus struggled and bargained with a God who does not bargain. “If this cup could pass,” Jesus tries but unsuccessfully. “I could do something else,” Jesus might have said next except he finally realized what his mission was to achieve and to whom it was dedicated.

It’s a God-like moment. I don’t know if  Jesus knew then he was God or if he ever knew. My new answer satisfied my little friend as much as my first. We all have divinity living within us. We all have “God-like” times in our conversations with family and friends when the best of us shine, and we’re not always sure of its origin.

Explaining to second graders the elements of Baptism, I was reminded of the potentcy of the sacraments that I too often take for granted. The youngsters all marveled at my knowledge but were more concerned with how old I am and how tall I am. Oh well. Developing minds trying to wrap minds around the great mysteries of our Christian faith.

And all explained by a priest who isn’t so sure of his second answer. “Oh, well.”

 

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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