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.
The gospel opens with a typical classroom scene—the teacher asking the class questions. As a good teacher, Jesus begins with an easy question: “Who do people say that I am?” A lot of hands shoot up and answers come rapidly—“Elijah or one of the prophets.” Now with the class of disciples in an answering mode, Jesus asks the challenging question: “And who do you say that I am?” Suddenly the class of disciples falls silent. Finally, Peter speaks up, “You are the Christ.”
Now that is the question that Jesus has asked everyone down through the ages. Today he asks us that same question. How do you answer that question? Is he is the son of God and the savior of the world? Is there anything else? Is there also a personal relationship? Is he a guide, a companion, a friend? Jesus waits for your answer.
Lord Jesus, I want you to be my companion and guide. May we grow in mutual friendship.
—Fr. Bernard Streicher