Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and He asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
Thank you for joining today as we continue our Ordinary Time journey focused on listening to, obeying, and witnessing to Jesus.
As we know, the disciples, who would later be Apostles, gave various answers to Jesus’ question of identity. They recounted what they heard and likely discussed among themselves. If there can be one thing said for the Jewish culture it is that it has a propensity for deep study and debate. Questions are asked to make one think. Thoughts and opinions are pondered over.
We have that heritage within our own pristine Catholic faith. We continue in modeling the early Church. We have debate as part of our democratic decision-making process. It happens at every level within the Church from the parish annual meeting to our quadrennial Holy Synods.
Having just returned from our annual Central Diocese clergy retreat, I can report that this process of debate, discussion, and decision making is alive and active – and we are edified by it. Thinking builds one up.
We can see that Peter’s statement of faith was not a sudden one-off. He is recounting what the disciples have been discussing throughout their journey with Jesus. They thought over and considered what John the Baptist had said. They knew Jesus’ words, that He is the Son of Man, taken from the prophesies of David.
In Daniel 7:13–14 the “Ancient of Days” (God) gives dominion over the earth to “one like a son of man.” In some Jewish thought the “son of man” is interpreted as the Messiah.
What set Peter apart was this admission of faith, taking a discussion and debate to a resolution.
My dear brothers and sisters, that is what we are called to do, to reach a conclusion and resolution about Jesus. If we have resolved, within ourselves, that He is our Savior and Redeemer, that He is God among and alongside us, then we have done well.
The next step for each of us, in different ways, is to permeate our lives with Jesus. Jesus’ call to us is not a Sunday one-and-done faith, but a faith lived in real ways, prayer in each moment, confidence in public witness, and fully living the gospel.