Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I teach theology at a Jesuit high school in Denver, Colorado, and the other day, while discussing the role of the Church in our lives, I asked my students “Who gave us the Sacraments – these wonderful tools to help us on our path to salvation?”. One student timidly raised her hand in the back of the room and whispered tentatively, “Jesus?”. I was hoping for a more brave, brazen approach, much like Peter’s in today’s Gospel reading! “You are the Christ!” Peter offers such a clear understanding of who Jesus was (and is) – our Savior – the Anointed One.
Why be timid? Perhaps we’re afraid of being wrong. What if we bravely proclaim Jesus’ saving power and somehow we’ve missed the mark? What if our faith is off base and our belief is misguided? If we wish to come after Christ, we have to take up his cross and follow. No doubt our eternal salvation is worth some possible humiliation here on earth.
Today, let us not forget the words of St. Faustina – “Jesus I trust in you!”
—Marcus Fryer, SJ
Please share the Good Word with your friends!