Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
Second Reading, Romans 11:33-36
Gospel, Matthew 16:13-20
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Who do you say that I am?
Br. Ian Granada [CJM]
Many for us Christians, asking who Jesus is no longer need enough introductions. We easily point to Him as the Son of God, the Messiah, the Good Shepherd, and many more images we tend to label Him based on our experience and learning.
This Sunday, Jesus himself is asking us, “Who do you say that I am?”
All these years as Catholic Christians attending the Holy Eucharist, liturgies, and other Church-based activities; can we say that we have known Jesus already? The Gospel today Challenges us to recollect and pause, ask ourselves if we do really know Jesus? Are we content with what the Church is saying about Jesus? Do we rest our search for Him and settle instead in our self-appointed pews and be content with such knowledge? Sadly, our knowledge of Jesus remained in the level of “something out there”, or a mere catechism or theological understanding. We need to learn from our Protestant brothers and sisters, who built their Faith in a personal, relational bond with God; particularly in Jesus. We need to discover Jesus again, know Him and be close to Him inside a relationship.
As I reflect on this Sunday’s readings, I am moved to re-examine my knowledge about Jesus and how it affects, shapes, and guides my life as a human person. I can say many times that Jesus is the Messiah; the Son of God, but does my life also reflect such knowledge? The question Jesus asks us, “Who do you say that I am?” is neither an academic question nor a matter of theological reflection. It begs for an identity that comes from a relation – how do you know me personally? In your eyes, who I am in your life? Jesus asked this to Peter not to test him of theological reflection on His identity but rather a question of relationship that is founded in love and trust.
Where to find Jesus? Sacrosanctum Concilium or the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy points us to four signs of the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ;
#7 To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross" , but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes . He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20)
First, we can see Christ in every prayerful gathering as He promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of the.” (Mt. 18,20) When we pray in the family, specially before and after meals, we proclaim that God (Jesus) is with us as we praise and thank God and in the larger context, as a community inside the Church – we are the Ekklesia – the gathered assembly who worships God. As we listen to the proclaimed word of God in the Holy Mass, we listen individually and as a Church to Jesus who speaks in the ministers. Third, in the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ; that as we receive it, it empowers us to do acts of love, mercy and compassion to our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and weak. Lastly, the priest who presides in our liturgies, his life dedicated to God and the people of God, bears the sign that Jesus is in Him, through his actions and words.
To know Jesus is to love him in a relationship. We are called not only to know Him but follow Him and build a relationship that will blossom forth in a life fully alive in the love of God the Father and in the Holy Spirit.
As we go along this week, let us renew our relationship with Jesus. Let us discover Him again in the proclaimed Word, in our communities and families in prayer and worship to God, in the Holy Eucharist; the body and blood of Jesus, and in our priests as the visible sign of Jesus’ life of service and love to all. It is not too late to know Jesus, let us pray to the Holy Spirit that He may grant us the true knowledge of Jesus in our lives and together as a community, worship God in Jesus as the Messiah, the son of the Living God!