Gospel text (Mc 8,27-33):
Jesus set out with his disciples for the villages around Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He asked them, «Who do people say I am?». And they told him, «Some say you are John the Baptist; others say you are Elijah or one of the prophets». Then Jesus asked them, «But you, who do you say I am?». Peter answered, «You are the Messiah». And he ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man had to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and after three days rise again. Jesus said all this quite openly, so that Peter took him aside and began to protest strongly. But Jesus turning around, and looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter saying, «Get behind me Satan! You are thinking, not as God does, but as people do».
«Who do people say I am?»
Fr. Joan Pere PULIDO i Gutiérrez
(Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)
Today, with the help of saint Mark's Gospel, we continue listening to God's word. A Gospel with a very clear concern: to discover who this Jesus of Nazareth may be. Through his texts, Mark has been offering us other people's reactions to Jesus: the sick ones, the disciples, the scribes and Pharisees. And today, He is directly asking us: «But you, who do you say I am?» (Mk 8:29).
We, Christians, must discover our identity and prove our own faith through being good examples with our life. This duty is an urgent task to transmit a clear and understandable message to our brothers and sisters, who will find in Jesus that Word of Life bestowing meaning to what they may think, say or do. But, this witness must begin with us being totally conscious of our meeting with Jesus. John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte wrote: «Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face».
Saint Mark, with this text, offers us the right way to contemplate Jesus. First, Jesus asks us who do people say He is; and we can answer, with the disciples: John the Baptist or Elijah, in other words an important, good and attractive person. Certainly, a good answer, but too far away from Jesus' Truth. Then, He goes on asking us: «But you, who do you say I am?». It is the question of faith, of our personal implication. And we shall only find the answer in the experience of silence and praying. It is the faith path Peter followed which we should follow also.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us come to know through prayer the liberating presence of God's love, which is present in our life. He keeps on making alliances with us with clears signs of his presence, as that rainbow appearing through the clouds promised Noah.