August 24, 2014: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets,” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. “Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 15:13-20)
While traditionally Christians have understood that this passage from Matthew establishes a structure for the early church, there are other significant meanings in this incident of Jesus questioning the disciples on what they believe about him. Jesus wants to know what the word on the street is about him. They reply that people believe that he may be John the Baptist or one of the prophets. Clearly, he is viewed as very significant to the people with whom he ministered. The real questions that Jesus hastens to ask is, but, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter now understands that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of the living God, the prophet for whom Israel has waited for so long. The teacher who was so counter-cultural in his time and place.
Jesus is continuing to put the same question to us: “Who do you say that I am? Do I matter in your life? Do you live an authentic Christian Life? Will they know you are Christian by your love, your compassion, your healing, your justice, your caring, your concern for all God’s children and God Creation?
Step up to the plate to answer that question with your actions this week. “Who do you say, by your life, that I am?”