Q: Even if you are not baptized, does God still answer your prayer?
A: God created all of us in his own image out of love. God the Son, Jesus Christ, has given us the great gift of Baptism in which original sin is destroyed and we become more like Jesus with all the additional graces from the Sacrament. This Sacrament of Initiation enables us to become a member of the Church’s family.
We, also, are aware that just over a billion of the world’s population is Catholic, but most of our brothers and sisters in this world have not even been baptized. Each one of us is precious in God’s eyes. The Gospel stories are full of Jesus’ welcoming others and even blessing them. Jesus heard and answered the prayers of others, not just of his closest friends. Jesus wants to be known by everyone.
If a nonbaptized person prayed to God, this would be a perfect time for the prayer to be answered by God. This moment in conversation with God may be the beginning of that person’s journey to Baptism and his or her life in the Church. In prayer, God draws us closer to him, to know him, and to love him as he loves us.
Q: I often worry about things out of my control, such as family member’s safety while they travel. What Scripture passage would be good to read to remind me to trust God and what he has planned?
A: The uncertainty of this world can bring each one of us worry and anxiety. Good thing we have guardian angels to look over us and we can ask for the intercession of St. Christopher, patron saint of travelers, for protection. You question had to do with the Bible, though.
Of all the passages in the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer is the perfect travel companion. These words come directly from Jesus’ mouth, and they instruct us how God always remains with us. When I say “travel,” this also pertains to our pilgrimage or travel in this life. To begin a car ride or our day with the Lord’s Prayer, we are confident that no matter what comes our way, God is right there.
Both the Book of Psalms and Book of Proverbs provide numerous references to God’s constant presence with us, especially Psalm 32: 8 and 91: 11 and Proverbs 3: 5-6 and 16: 9. St. Paul, in his Letter to the Philippians (Chapter 4, Verse 19) reminds us that Jesus is always there, ready to give us whatever we need. So, trust in God, he knows what he is doing, even if there are times we are unsure where we are going.
Q: Why did God create the knowledge tree if he knew they would eventually eat from it?
A: “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Gn 2: 16-17). One would think that God telling Adam to avoid the tree would be sufficient reason to avoid the tree. As you point out, Adam and Eve failed to listen. They failed the test.
From the beginning, we human beings have been gifted with free choice, namely to choose right from wrong. This story in the Book of Genesis is our beginning. From the very beginning, God has given us choices to follow him, or not (which is sin). Adam and Eve believed that the tree of which you refer was the solution to no longer being dependent on God, in other words, to reject God.
Of course, God knows everything. We do not. Through the freely chosen rejection of God’s instruction, original sin was introduced into the world. The placement of the tree in the garden reminds us that because of original sin, we no longer enjoyed the same relationship with God as did Adam and Eve – until Jesus’ Suffering, Death and Resurrection returned us the grace lost at the origins of humanity.
The tree of knowledge is not the end of the story, for Jesus restored us to our original state of grace through his Passion, Death and Resurrection. The Sacrament of Baptism is the Eternal Solution to the disobedience of our first parents. Adam and Eve failed miserably the test to avoid the tree, but Jesus has succeeded to return us to grace.
This Season of Easter is a season of hope for all humanity. May you and your family enjoy this season of promise brought to us out of God’s love, in the person of Jesus Christ. He is risen, alleluia, alleluia.
To “Ask the Bishop,” write, email or telephone Joseph M. Taylor, Diocese of Steubenville, Office of Christian Formation and Schools, catechetical consultant and youth ministry coordinator, P.O. Box 969, Steubenville, OH 43952, email, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone, (740) 282-3631.