"Who Do You Say that I Am?"
It always amazes me to listen to people who never had formal studies of Scriptures or theology yet speak profoundly of their relationship with God, with Jesus Christ. It is just so personal that their knowledge about Him revealed the truths of God more than what is explained in books and discussions. When Jesus asked his disciples who do people say he is, he got different answers. They would have come from what they hear about Jesus or known about him from their own interpretations. Plainly we say, a head knowledge, not in a deep sense of the Hebrew word “to know” which is a fruit of an encounter. This one we call it a heart knowledge. So he turned to his closest associates and Peter having at this time not completely understood who Jesus really is, pronounced what has been revealed by the Father, “You are Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Peter was chosen not of his own merits but by a sheer gift of the Father’s revelation. He is entrusted then with a leadership, as the head of the Apostles, through which the Catholic Church holds true down the generations.
St. Paul (Second Reading- Romans 11:33-36) accepts with all humility the utter profoundness of God’s wisdom. “How deep are the riches and the wisdom of God! How inscrutable his judgments, how unsearchable his ways,” he said. This is the wisdom given to those who humble themselves before the presence of God, a revelation given to those who put their faith on Him, and to the One whom the Father sent, Jesus Christ. Many people say that Jesus Christ is just one of the wise men born in this world, a reformer, or a great prophet, a moral teacher or many other attributes given to him. Others could not accept him as the Messiah, the Son of God. It’s hard for them to accept the mystery of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, the incarnation through the power of the Holy Spirit, that he took on flesh and became like us except sin. A person who doesn’t have faith in God, to let him be as “He is” (His name “I am Who I am”) could not understand the logic of God’s revelation.
The journey of faith is not solely a personal endeavour. It is also communal. It grows in a context of a believing community. This is the reason why Peter had been entrusted of a very essential responsibility of handing on God’s gift to humanity, our faith Jesus Christ. This is the gift of the Church to us, broken and wounded might be some of our leaders, the Church remains to hold on to what God has revealed in Jesus Christ. The Church reflects the image of the Blessed Mother who gives Jesus to the world. This is the reason we never tire of proclaiming the Good News, of telling the story of Jesus Christ, the story of God’s love to humanity.
God invites us then to give him space in our hearts and minds to fill us with his wisdom. It is letting go of our self-sufficiency and emptying ourselves with pride and arrogance. St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians encourages us to imitate Jesus, “Though he was in the form God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather he emptied himself and took the form of slave being born in the likeness of man.” (cf. Philippians 2:1-7) He emptied himself on the cross for the sake of love, for the sake of our salvation. A centurion, in the crucifixion scene, after he witnessed what had happened was convicted and cut to heart. He said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). This is the same question Jesus poses for us today, “Who do you say that I am?” Do we really know what Jesus can do to us if we truly “know” him? “
(Fr Regie, MSP)