"What is it that you do not understand?" asked the kind old priest gently.
"Well, I believe in God," replied the teenager, "but I don't understand how Jesus could be His Son. God wasn't married."
Father Ignatius knew that he had to tread carefully. Obviously, a lot had not been taught clearly during Catechism classes.
"How would you describe God?" he asked in a kind voice, smiling a little.
"Well ... He's a Spirit, isn't He?" said the young man, "a bit like a ghost. No one has truly seen Him. He is painted in old paintings like an old man with a beard, but Sister Anne said that this is to help us visualise Him."
"Sister Anne is right," continued the priest, "God is a living Spirit, inhabiting a spiritual world all around us. The angels are spirits. Devils too. Also the Holy Spirit and Jesus too."
The boy nodded as Father Ignatius continued.
"When we recite the Credo we say: I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. God of God, light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made.
"Note the words born of the Father, meaning He was born, not made or created just like God created us. Jesus is consubstantial to the Father, which means of one substance as God. That is Jesus is also a Spirit, the same as God. Jesus has always existed as a Spirit just like God has been.
"Now these words were not just invented by the writers of the Credo. The people who met at the first ecumenical council of churches in Nicea in the year 325 wrote them down after much prayers and debate.
"These are also the words of Jesus Himself. Often He said that He was and is the Son of God.
"You will also remember that during the Baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit appeared like a dove and a voice from Heaven said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!' "
The boy nodded again.
"The same happened at the Transfiguration," continued the priest, "a voice was heard from the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!'
"God, and Jesus, confirmed several times that Jesus is the Son of God. He was born as a human, through the Holy Spirit, so that we might get to see Him and recognise Him.
"As you said, John ... God is an invisible Spirit, and so is Jesus, as He has always been. But He was born as a human baby so that He might grow amongst us and we get to know Him better. He was made flesh for our eyes to see, and our ears to hear Him and His message."
"Did He have the same feelings as us?" asked the young boy.
"Yes, I believe so," replied Father Ignatius, "when He was beaten and tortured at the Crucifixion He felt the same agony and pain that any of us would have felt. He had the same emotions as us. He felt compassion for the people He met. Sadness at the death of Lazarus. He felt tired and fell asleep on the boat. He was thirsty and asked the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink. Yes, I believe He had the same human emotions as us albeit He is God at the same time."
"Why did He not marry?" asked the boy then bit his lip.
The priest did not react, but continued gently.
"I believe that as a human He shared the same human emotions as us. Remember the devil tempted Him in the desert with similar temptations he would use to us. If you are God's Son as you claim you are jump from this temple. Turn these stones into bread. Why don't you worship me? I can offer you much in return. I suspect that if chocolate had been invented at the time, Satan would have tempted Him with this too.”
The boy smiled as the priest went on.
"I guess Jesus may have had some feelings for women as any human would have; but being God at the same time He knew that His mission on earth would have been jeopardised in this respect.
"He knew, well before He was born as a human, what His mission was and how humanity would treat Him. He accepted this as the will of God and as an eternal sacrifice for us all. The Old Testament is full of prophesies about Him and His mission; at least 300 of them have been fulfilled in His lifetime and death and Resurrection.
"I think that one way to understand Jesus is that He was, when on earth, a human with the soul of God. He was as He has always been, a Spirit just like God, but in appearance residing in a human body.
"That being said, however, there is one truth which we as Christians believe and from which there is no flinching doubt or hesitation ... Jesus is the Son of God. He was not just a teacher, a wise man, a prophet or whoever else some people would wish to describe Him or believe. Time and again He asked those around Him Who they believed He was; and every time He corrected them and said He is the Son of God.
"When Jesus asked 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter said, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in Heaven.'
"This is Divine affirmation that God, through the Holy Spirit, opened Peter's mind and made him understand that Jesus is the Son of God.
"Let there be no doubt about that."