Peace and all good. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks a question to his disciples: “who do people say that I am?” but that was only a preliminary question; the real question was “Who do you say I am?”
The first question is easily answered; one has only to be a reporter. But the second question is a searching one; and only a disciple can come anywhere within range of an answer. It is a question and answer that affects all of us in what we do and how we live. How it affects us personally (whether we come to Church, whether we pray, whether we keep the Commandments), just begins to describe how it affects us. Actually, how we answer this question affects every person in how they should live.
When we recite the Creed at Mass we give the Church’s answer. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father….”
However, the mere repetition of a right answer is not the answer. We found out in primary school that the right answer given at the end of the arithmetic book was useless unless we reached it by valid steps ourselves. We don’t just repeat the Creed; we profess it. It is more than a set of theoretical statements; it is a commitment and a renewal of faith. This is more demanding. We cannot ‘find’ Jesus in the way you find some lost object, or a piece of information. In a sense, the seeking has to continue even when we have found him. There are different kinds of seeking. There is a seeking to know, and there is a seeking to find. These need not be opposed to each other, but they can be. The first is about possessing knowledge, the second is about possessing a reality. The first engages the mind, the second one’s life.
After the Resurrection, the disciples met in pairs and in groups and they told one another of their experiences: Mary Magdalene “went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her” (John 20:18); “the disciples said, ‘we have seen the Lord'” (John 20:25); the disciples returning from Emmaus “told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognized him at the breaking of bread” (Luke 24:35).
When we Christians meet in his name we are responding to his question, “Who do you say that I am?” and sharing our experience of him with our brothers and sisters.
Peace. Fr. Oscar