People still seek answers to life’s deepest questions

Staff and students enjoy lunch at the new site.

Theology is the pursuit of answers to “the deepest questions of faith and life”, but also “at its best, an intimate conversation with Jesus”.  

Auckland Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen stressed these points in his homily at the inaugural Mass for 2022 for Te Kupenga – Catholic Theological College on February 25.   

Bishop Gielen said that the world today “is awash in uncertainty”, and people are seeking answers to life’s questions.  

“They are looking for truth, for authentic witnesses, for sound reasoning. They are looking for people who have laboured in search of the truth, for people who are willing to share the fruits of their labour,” he said.   

The bishop reflected that this is not something new, as people came to Jesus with similar questions about life and faith.  

“Jesus was respected for his ability to listen to people, to allow their questions and to then respond thoughtfully. In our Gospel today, he does just that, he taught them ‘as was his custom’,” he said.  

In the Gospel passage where Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus’ response showed how faith is tied up with real life.  

“Our Gospel passage reminds us, both students and teachers, of the fundamentals of studying theology. In labouring for the truth through our studies, we are challenged to explore what we believe, why we believe, and how this is related to the world we live in.   

“In our Gospel scene today, Jesus is clear on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of his belief as he addresses what Moses taught on marriage; he also knew people – the reason the law of Moses was such was because of their hardened hearts. He understood people’s ‘real lives’, how theory doesn’t always line up with practice,” Bishop Gielen said.  

The bishop recalled how his Scripture professor in Dunedin, John Brook, would stress the importance for theologians to “have their Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other”.  

“Theology is not just an academic pursuit; it is human one. God speaks to us both through his Word and the world around us,” he said.  

Bishop Gielen also noted how, when the crowds left after Jesus’ teaching, the disciples again questioned Jesus in the “intimacy of a house”.  

“Speaking to them personally, Jesus was able to develop his teaching on marriage. Theology is at its best an intimate conversation with Jesus in the inner sanctum of our being . . . .it must be based both on sound academic investigation and a deep faith,” he said.  

“Our world is questioning, it is searching for people who have been courageous enough to ask the deepest questions, people who have found the fulfilment of their search. Not just an answer, but an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ, the fulfilment of desire,” the bishop said.  

CTC Dean Dr John Evangelista said that there are several significant events lined up during the year that may be of interest to the public.  

This includes the College Foundation Day Mass on May 13, which will coincide with the opening and the blessing of the college’s new site, St Columba Centre, in Vermont St.  

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Rowena Orejana

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