In the Gospel, Jesus is confronted by two things: his short time frame and the faith of his disciples. He asks his disciples then the question, “Who do men say that I am?” Caesarea Philippi was a cosmopolitan town so was heavily influenced by paganism.
Against this background Jesus challenges his disciples to clarify their faith and understand the consequences of that belief. The circumstances are repeated for us today. Many gods and many people who have abandoned God surround us. More people overwhelmed by too much information are finding themselves lost and scattered. Everyday we are being challenged to clarify through the teaching of the Church the identity of Christ and his importance in our lives. It took great insight on Peter’s part; it took the firm and maturing faith of Paul to proclaim Christ and to be willing to suffer the consequences of that proclamation.
This has been quite the week for us with the Supreme Court overriding a referendum of the people and the Administration insistent that we still be forced to go against our consciences in matters of faith and morals.
We look to Peter and Paul today, in the person of our Holy Father Francis, for the same firm and maturing faith. We rely on him to be fully conscious of the work Jesus began, preaching with confidence the Good News.
We look to the Pope to reaffirm our role in that work and to lead us in both worship and proclamation so we can carry on as collaborators with him in spirit and truth. The Pope’s first and foremost responsibility is insuring unity among all Christians, leading us into full communion with Christ.
And so, the Church asks us to be straightforward in our response to Jesus’ question; to answer it with a firm and maturing faith and to be more aware of the work we are called to do in the Lord’s vineyard with joy.
Who do you say that I am? Your answer is key to your salvation.