Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake 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 http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In the first reading, we are told that “a fountain to purify from sin and unclean- ness” shall be opened to the house of David and to its inhabitants. In the second reading St. Paul tells us “we are children of God; we are clothed with Christ” —precisely because we have been baptized in Christ, and “we are one.” In the gospel Jesus asks, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And then he challenges Peter, “But who do you say that I am?”
With these challenging words before us, let us call upon the Holy Spirit as we ponder:
Why do you stay true to your baptism?
Imagine yourself face to face with Christ.
He asks you, “Who do you say I am?”
What is your response?
Finally, imagine that you are looking into
Jesus’ eyes and ask him: “Who do you say
that I am?” What is Jesus’ answer?
—Fr. Tim Shepard, S.J. is a pastoral minister, librarian, and retreat director living at Colombiere, the Chicago-Detroit Jesuit retirement center in Clarkston MI.
Lord, three questions we must ponder. Who do we say you are and who do you say we are? And what difference do those answers make in how we live our days? While some things may not make sense in a given day, everything makes sense at the deepest level. With profound gratitude for your magnificent care, we surrender the joys and sorrows of this day to you. And we pray to be every mindful that you are always near.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team