Reflections - September 13, 2015

“But who do you say that I am?”  Mk. 8:29.
It seems that the Lord did a survey two thousand years in advance since surveys are conducted daily today in our society inquiring about political, social, and economic opinions.
Jesus poses two questions to his disciples.  “Who do people say that I am?’ and “Who do you say that I am?”
The first question was based on the faith that the Apostles had received through their traditions.  The answer was simple.  “They say that you are John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”  If they ask you or me we might say, “well, when I was young I was taught prayers……..
The Lord’s second question is more compromising and personal.  “But who do you say that I am?”  He is referring to you and me from our own experience in faith.
They say that Peter replied for us:  “You are the Messiah”.  However, Peter’s response of faith will have to be purified through many failings, denials, and repentances.  It is the passion, death, and Resurrection of Christ that will mature that faith because to follow the Lord is to “refuse thyself, carry thy cross, and follow Him”.
The Peter that answers the Lord today is not the same Peter that after the Resurrection answers a similar question to the Lord.  “Peter, do you love Me.”  Peter responds, “You know everything; you know that I love you”.  You know the greatnesses and miseries of an old man left with upheaval and needs.  But, Lord, I also learned that to follow You on the cross each day I must mature in love to be able to do Your Will.  As Pope Francis says:  “The suffering that comes from fulfilling the will of God is an essential condition of the Kingdom of God”.  In today’s Gospel we heard hash words spoken to Peter when he wanted to remove the cross from the Gospel bringing thoughts that are not of God but of men, “You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do”.
Today’s Gospel invites us to mature in faith to be able to carry the cross as Pope Francis says:  “the cross is not invented and is not seen as if it is fatal”.  It is the Lord who puts it on our shoulders of which He carries the greatest weight.  We, of course, have to be nourished with both the Eucharist and prayer that strengthen us in faith and hope to be able to grow in faith doing His will each day.