Jesus said to his Apostles, “But who do you say that I am” (Mt 16:15)?
Have we answered the same question that Jesus posed to his apostles for ourselves? Too often we move from this to that, one situation to another, putting out fires and moving from one crisis to another, or we are just seeking to make it through another day.
To be a Christian is not a call to stop living our lives, but it is an invitation to live our lives in, with, and for Jesus. We have been described as a People of the Book, along with Jews and Muslims. This is true, yet, even more so, we are a people of encounter; we encounter the Living Word, the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.
Peter and Paul encountered Jesus in their lives and were changed forever. We can encounter the same Jesus when we slow down enough to pray with the Word proclaimed in the Liturgy of the Mass or read in personal prayer.
As a very simple example: except for the first Office of the day, in praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the opening prayer is, “God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me.” I still need to embrace the depth of those words instead of repeatedly passing through them, not really taking in what I am saying!!! Also, how many times do we make the Sign of the Cross without being attentive to the profound act we have just engaged ourselves in?
Through invoking this prayer and making this sacramental gesture, we are acknowledging that the Creator of all that exists is a part of our lives. Each one is also a prayer we may lean on when tempted, stressed, worried, or anxious. Each one is an affirmation of a commitment to resist giving in to a mindset of minimalism and self-centeredness. All things are possible when we mindfully choose to align ourselves with Jesus, participate in the communion of the Holy Trinity, and welcome the invitation to love others as God loves us.
Peter and Paul both answered the question that Jesus posed. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16), and Paul “proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20)! I invite you to read today’s Gospel account from Matthew a few times, imagine yourself being present in the scene, and then as Jesus approaches and asks “Who do you say that I am?” How do you respond? How we answer this question makes a difference.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us!
Painting of Saints Peter and Paul by El Greco, 16th Century