“But who do you say that I am?” Mark 8:29
The question of the day may surprise you: Who is Jesus? Is he a prophet? A great teacher? A political disruptor? Is he really the Messiah?
In today’s Gospel, Peter recognizes Jesus as the Christ, and says so reassuringly. But when Jesus tells his disciples—for the first time—that the Son of Man must suffer and die, then rise after three days, Peter has second thoughts. In fact, he rebukes Jesus perhaps wanting to keep his own vision for a Messiah intact—and denying a future that includes pain and suffering.
At this moment, Peter was channeling things of this world and not the divine plan of salvation that Jesus had been preaching. So the Lord had to bring his disciple back to reality with a few admonishing words. And doesn’t this all sound a little familiar? Sometimes we lose our focus, too, straying away from God’s plan in favor of our own. That’s rarely a good idea.
So the question we must ask ourselves today comes down to this: Who is Jesus in our lives? Like Peter we can say, “You are the Christ.” But, just as it was ultimately for Peter, the proof will be in the ways we express our faith… how we live family life, how we raise our children, how we treat our neighbors… how we live our lives in all the big and small ways of being good missioners.
We know that Peter took a while to express his faith fully. But even after denying Christ three times, he returned to give his deepest devotion to his Lord. The truth is, like Peter, we will always have moments of confusion and doubt, too. Especially if God’s plan is not our plan. But with confidence in the promise of salvation—and the belief that God is always with us—we can be worthy of our calling to eternal life.
Friend, living our faith is not a one-and-done kind of experience. The commitments we make to one another—and to God—must be renewed throughout our lives otherwise they weaken and fray. Affirm who Jesus is for you—in word and deed—and you will have answered the question in today’s Gospel.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Prayer for 2nd Sunday
Jesus, my teacher, instruct me in Your truth.
Jesus, holy physician, heal all my wounds.
Jesus, priest and prophet, show me the way
that leads to life with You and all the saints.
Jesus, Messiah, call me to true freedom.
Jesus, Lamb of God, take away my sins.
Jesus, Son of God, awaken the divine image
in all people in every land and in every age.
Jesus, crucified, give me the strength to carry
my cross and follow You each day.
Give me the compassion to help others to carry their crosses
and to stand, when needed, at the foot of the cross of all who suffer.
Transform my pain into a fountain of grace in which I find newness of life.
Savior of the world, save me from myself.
Jesus, Messiah, rule in my heart.
Grant me the peace You promised to
those who follow Your commands.
Jesus, Chosen One, rule in my home.
Let Your anointing cover my relationships
and draw together those who have drifted apart.
May I always confess You as my Lord,
You Who live with the Father and Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.
Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.