Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (13th September 2015)
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year, September 13th
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Only two weeks now till the Eucharistic Congress. If you havent gotten a timetable please pick one up today. There’s something for everyone – workshops on family life, spirituality, the celebration of Mass, the Anointing of the Sick, Confessions, Processions, an all night vigil and much more. September 26-27th in Knock. All are welcome!
“But you, who do you say I am?” Jesus puts his disciples on the spot, asking them a tough and challenging question. Look at the people around you here today at Mass. If one of them asked you that question, “Who do you say I am?” how would you respond? It would depend of course on how well you know that person. The more experience you have of that person the more your response will capture the essence of them. So too with Peter when he responds to Jesus’ challenging question. Peter’s answer does not come from anything he has read or studied. It is not an academic answer to an exam question. No, Peter’s answer rises up from the depths of him, shaped by his own experience with Jesus, his own relationship with Jesus. And so Peter responds, “You are the Christ.” Peter knows at the gutsy level of human experience that Jesus is God’s own anointed one – the Christ.
It is one thing having the right answer. It is another thing living it out. Peter has spoken the truth and so Jesus begins to explain to his disciples what the consequences of that truth are – that he will suffer, be rejected, die and rise again. Peter’s instinct is to protect Jesus. Moments ago he had proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ. Now he wants to hide that fact – it is too dangerous. The challenge for Peter – and for us – is to live with the reality of who Jesus is.
“Who do you say I am?” Like Peter, our response to that question is not just in the words we say but in the lives we live. Peter had good days and bad days, days when he was brave, days when he wanted to run away. In the end though, Peter’s life and his death, bore clear witness to his belief that Jesus is the Christ.
So if Jesus was to stop you going out of Mass today and ask you that question, what would your response be? Would you be saying – you are the Christ, you are my brother, you are a stranger, you are my hope, you are my Bread of Life? “Who do you say I am?” It is a challenging question, not meant to threaten us but to invite us deeper into relationship with Jesus. It is a question worth pondering in the week ahead. Who is Jesus for me? Where do I encounter him? How much attention do I pay to His presence and His gospel in my day? How does He shape my life, my choices and my relationships? How willing am I to take the risk of proclaiming, “You are the Christ.” in the words I say and in the life I live?
For all of us gathered here: Spirit of God, bless us we pray with the gift of integrity, so that the words we proclaim in the Creed are lived out in the actions, choices and relationships of daily life. Lord hear us.