As a grade school teacher, one of my pet peeves was when students would answer a question with another question.  Often times teachers ask a question with a particular answer in mind, and I would find myself frequently saying, “We don’t answer questions with questions.”

This is exactly what Jesus does today in the Gospel, he answers with a question. The question put to Jesus was one that was meant to entrap him and he saw right through the trickery. So often today we see debates and arguments occurring, especially online. More often than not these debates are heated and nasty.

When we go searching for clear answers like the Pharisees and Herodians (and me as teacher), we turn off our ability and willingness to understand the other. And really, isn’t that what Jesus’ ministry is all about? The real question being asked here is, are you giving what is due to God’s kingdom by living a life that seeks understanding rather than one that judges?

 —Alfonso Pizano, SJ is a Jesuit scholastic of the California Province, studying philosophy at Fordham University.