One day when Jesus was praying alone, not far from his disciples, He asked them, «What do people say about me?». And they answered, «Some say that you are John the Baptist; others say that you are Elijah, and still others that you are one of the former prophets risen from the dead». Again Jesus asked them, «Who then do you say I am?». Peter answered, «The Messiah of God». Then Jesus spoke to them, giving them strict orders not to tell this to anyone. And he added, «The Son of Man must suffer many things. He will be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the Law, and put to death. Then after three days he will be raised to life».
«What do people say about me? (...). Who do you say I am?»
Fr. Pere OLIVA i March
(Sant Feliu de Torelló, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, in the Gospel we find two questions that our Master is asking to all of us. The first one requires an approximate statistical reply: «What do people say about me?» (Lk 9:18). This forces us to look around and see how others answer this question: our neighbours, our work mates, our friends, our closest relatives... We look about ourselves and we feel more or less responsible or close —depending upon the cases— for some of the replies given by those who have some connection with our environment, and us “the people”... And, their answers say a lot, inform us, position us and make us realize what those who live next to us are looking for, what they need, what they desire. It helps us to tune in, to discover a meeting point with the other party, to grow closer...
But, there is a second question for us: «Who then do you say I am?» (Lk 9:20). This becomes a fundamental question knocking at our door; a question demanding from each one of us: adhesion or denial; veneration or aloofness; to walk along with him and in him or just end up a relationship of simple sympathy... This is a delicate and determining question, because it affects us. What do our lips and attitude say? Do we want to be faithful to Him who is and gives a meaning to our life? Is there to be found a sincere disposition in us to follow him in our journey through life? Are we ready to go with him to the Jerusalem of the Cross and the Glory?
«It is a path of Cross and Resurrection (...). The Cross is the Exaltation of Christ. He said it too: ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to Me’. It is evident, therefore, that the Cross is the Glory and exaltation of Christ» (St. Andrew of Crete). Are we then ready to move on to Jerusalem? Only with him and in him, is this not so?