'When I die and I meet God face to face, I want to be the one with the questions."
I heard this statement over the summer and I think about it constantly. The speaker explained that there were lots of moments in life that she planned to ask God, "What exactly where you thinking, allowing that to happen?" But, she said, she hoped God wouldn't have the same questions for her.
Obviously, God has his reasons for why things happen. But standing before the almighty, our reasons might seem a little weak.
This question was rolling through my mind a lot this January when I had the opportunity to tour the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., with the teens in my youth group. As an adult, I was the one getting their questions. And, let me tell you, it is a lot easier to answer questions about drugs, sex and rock'n'roll than why God allows bad things to happen.
Standing in the train that carted people to their deaths in Auschwitz, I was impressed that the teens asked not "Why did God allow this to happen?" but the more practical question, "Miss Alison, didn't people know this was going on? Well, why didn't they DO something?"
There are many inspiring examples of people who did "do something." However, there are many more who looked the other way. The hundreds of shoes collected from Auschwitz on display at the museum are a slap in the face reminding us that it was fellow human beings who allowed this to happen. Only God knows why.
It is a powerful examination of conscience for us to ask what we might be overlooking in our time.
Christ doesn't mince words. When people asked him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison and not minister to your needs?" (Matthew 25:44) he answered, "What you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment..." (Matthew 25:45-46).
Uncomfortable yet? I am. How many times have I ignored Christ in my neighbor? We're halfway through Lent and our sacrificing should be encouraging us to focus not just on our relationship with God but with those around us who are in need.
Opportunities abound, but if you're looking for some specifics in the next couple weeks, consider the following:
There are many ways to love Christ in our neighbors both locally and at an international level. When you die, be sure you're the one with the questions.
Alison Griswold is the director of youth ministry at St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church. Follow her on Twitter @alisongriz. Read her blog at www.teamcatholic.blogspot.com.