“Jesus and his disciples set out
for the villages of Caesarea Philippi.
Along the way he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that I am?”
They said in reply,
“John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others one of the prophets.”
And he asked them,
“But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said to him in reply,
“You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake
and that of the gospel will save it.”
Pope Francis wrote in ‘Joy of the Gospel’ “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness….I invite all Christian, everywhere, at this moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since ‘no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.’ The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus ‘Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again.” Pope Benedict wrote ” ‘Jesus’ gaze, the touch of his heart heals us…enabling us to be become truly ourselves and thus totally of God.” (Saved by Hope)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta said to her sisters, “I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus—one to one—you and Jesus alone… He loves you, but even more—He longs for you.”
Pope Francis in his homily on June 23 2013 said “We, we too, who are apostles and servants, must answer, because the Lord is asking us: ‘What do you think of me?’ He really does this, he does it many times! ‘What do you think of me?’ says the Lord. And we can’t be like those who don’t understand. ‘But you are the Anointed One! I’ve read about it.’ We can’t talk about Jesus like an historical personage, a figure from history right? Jesus is alive in front of us. It’s a living person who is asking us this question. And we have to respond, but from the heart.”
When we go to mass, does it seem like we are worshiping a living person? We can know about Jesus the same way we can know about Abraham Lincoln. We can think we have a relationship with Jesus because we know many things about him. Mother Teresa said in another place “We don’t come to know Jesus from books. We must experience Him.”
Question for the day. Who is Jesus for you?