Reading I: Isaiah 22:19-23
Reading II: Romans 11:33-36
GOSPEL: Matthew 16:13-20
An Ageless Question
Most of us have heard today’s Gospel many times. Jesus is asking his disciples what people are saying about him – who do people think he is. Following their responses, Jesus puts the question directly to them: “But who do you say that I am?”
What’s sometimes scary to us today is that Jesus continues to ask that same ageless question, only this time around he’s looking at us! How will you answer when Jesus looks into your eyes and asks, “Who do you say that I am?”
An Insufficient Answer
When Jesus first asked this question of the disciples, the answer given by Simon Peter was a tremendous revelation and took an incredible degree of love and trust. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
But Peter’s answer is not enough for us today. We all know that Jesus is the Christ – the Messiah – the Son of God. Most of us grew up hearing that, so the words themselves carry no profound revelation or meaning. Many children (and some adults) seem to think that “the Christ” is little more than Jesus’ last name. And for countless others, the answer that Peter gave is simply hollow words, completely detached from our own experience.
So the answer given by Peter – an answer that was very insightful for its time – is insufficient for Catholics today.
An Experiential Understanding
In many ways, evangelism begins when we start trying to determine who Jesus is to us – but not through words and concepts. When we come to know Jesus because we experience him and his love in the world around us, then we can answer the question properly.
Words and ideas can help point us to the real and living God, but those words and ideas can never fully describe Him. He cannot be constrained by the limitations of the human mind. We must experience Jesus for ourselves. We must know first-hand what it feels like to be touched by his Holy Spirit. And we must be willing to know that something is true – know it in our hearts – regardless of whether or not we are able to put that knowledge into words.
Only then can we begin to answer the question, “Who do you say that I am?”
How would you describe Jesus to someone who is not a Christian?
When have you experienced Christ at work in your life?
Who do you say that he is?
Original article by Brandon Jubar, 2005 – 2020.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.