Gospel Matthew 16:13-20
“Who do you say I am?
Sometimes we stumble across a gospel passage which is hits us really hard. Today’s gospel is one such instance. Here we have Jesus asking what is seemingly a simple question: ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
The disciples seem pretty happy to answer such a question, pointing out the many and varied accounts that were circulating at the time. Recounting the theories and positions of others requires very little of me personally.
Jesus then directs the question to the disciples asking, ‘But you, who do you say I am?’ This. This is the tough question.
Interestingly it at this point in the story that the disciples fall silent. This is the crucial question for them all, and it remains crucial for us today. The answer that we provide will have serious consequences for how my life is lived from here on out.
Like the disciples, we are often all too happy to remain in the world of hypotheses and abstractions, rather than commit to a faith that meets us in the grittiness of our life. However, this does not do justice to the reality standing before them – the same reality which confronts us.
Jesus is a person – not merely an idea. As then-Cardinal Ratzinger once stated, ‘an abstraction does not need a mother.’ (Ratzinger Report, 108)
This man makes a claim unlike any other in history, and it is a claim which corresponds to the deepest desire of the human heart.
But the question which he poses requires of us a free response.
Am I willing to commit my freedom and answer this question?
Point to Ponder
‘I know man well. It is I who made him. He is a strange creature.
For in him operates that liberty which is the mystery of mysteries.
Still one can ask a great deal from him. He is not too bad. You must not say he is bad.
If you know how to take him you can still ask a great deal from him…
I know how to take him. It’s my business. And this liberty itself is my creation.
One can ask from him plenty of heart, plenty of charity, plenty of sacrifices.
He has plenty of faith and plenty of charity.’
Charles Péguy, The Holy Innocents