The theme in today’s holy Liturgy is that of power. We hear it in the first reading, the book of Isaiah, reminding us that there is a power greater than human power (Isaiah 19:22-23). We can think of Pontius Pilate lording his human power over Jesus: “Do you not know that I have the power to put you to death?“(John 19:10). And the response that Jesus gives him: “You would have no power had it not been given to from on High” (John 19:11).
Nature Reveals God’s Power
In the past week, we have also encountered another power ourselves: the power of nature.
In one same week, we saw and marveled at the movement of the celestial bodies i
n the eclipse and now the awe-inspiring power of nature in the winds and waters of hurricane Harvey. This grounds us to acknowledge there is a greater Power longing, yearning, desiring to be discovered by us. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13-20). In other words, what are they saying about me? What’s the hearsay?
The Most Critical Question of Your Life
To this question we hear Peter’s marvelous response. A fascinating detail of this story is that Peter only really discovers who he is when he responds to the question of who Jesus is.
He only discovers his purpose in life and mission in the Church when he discerns who Christ is FOR HIM.
The same questions can be asked to us by Jesus. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Jesus, there are some thoughts stemming from the Enlightenment saying that you are just an idea, an invention, something we came up with ourselves in order to cope with the reality of death.
Jesus, a misguided sense of science says there is no evidence compelling enough to believe in you, or in your message, or in the afterlife, or in the existence of the soul.
Jesus, some people say you are a miracle worker, that you give them what they want when they cannot achieve it for themselves.
Jesus, my society, my school, my workplace, my friends, my peers say that you are just one belief among many others that I can choose from. You are just one belief among Islam, or Buddhism, yoga or veganism that I can choose to make me feel nice.
Then Jesus, turning to you in His piercing, loving gaze, locks His eyes on you and says,
“But who do YOU say that I am?”
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