Reading 1 Zec 12:10-11; 13:1
Reading 2 Gal 3:26-29
Responsorial Psalm Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Gospel Lk 9:18-24
Jesus’ question „Who do the crowds say that I am?” had as much relevancy down the centuries as it did when it was first asked in the northeast corner of Palestine. I will even dare to say that this is the crucial question for all Christians, for all who claim to believe in Christ and to believe Christ. Many have attempted to answer that question. In fact, each Christian of every age must give an answer. And today as in the time of Christ we have as many answers as people trying to answer the question. Today however “Many people consider Jesus irrelevant because he proposes a life of self-discipline”, the life of truth and authentic love. For this reason His teaching and His person are rejected and denied or neglected even by some so called Catholics, who are not able to accept God who is not fitting their simplistic and false images of Loving God, who forgot about justice.
If God doesn’t fit my expectations and my conviction He doesn’t exist.
So, this people try to diminish Christ’s role and reduce Him to the mere human dimensions, refusing His divinity and His divine prerogatives and rights. They are creating an image of a false God (Christ) who is weak, insignificant, unimportant and finally useless. We can see it nowadays where the whole -apparently Christian- societies are living as if Jesus doesn’t exist or –as one of the American theologians said: “we are creating and worshipping an idol of God, conform to our ideas and who finally follow or obey us and our projections. This god is not the God of the Bible is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is not the God of authority and powerful, creative Love. He is a weak idol, who has to obey us and our requests and if not I reject Him.”
Famous German theologian Karl Rahner in his book “Foundations of faith” writes:
“True religion, as a religion of the transcendental God and not the religion of my own subjective imagination cannot be rooted only in my subjectivity or depend only on my individual projection. It has to be a religion of objective and indisputable moral and ethical values rooted ultimately in an objective God, Who is always out of me and finally out of my understanding. If the religion is only an expression and interpretation of my personal understanding and my private acceptation, it is always subjective and week, and finally it is a kind of home-made religion. And what is the value of such a home-made religion? The value of such a home-made religion is the same as the value the home-made currency. Means null, literally zero!!”
To guarantee, to assure this objectivity of God and objectivity of religion, God gave us two complementary elements: Bible and the Church which is: “the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1 Tim 3:15)
How many of our contemporary Christian communities are creating such a home-made religion, or home-made God, because they reject Jesus Christ as a Messiah, they reject the church instituted by Christ?
More important however is Jesus’ second question: „who do you say that I am?„
Matthew Kelly in his book: “Rediscovering Catholicism” writes:
“You can prise Him, disagree with Him, quote Him, disbelieve Him, glorify Him, or criticize Him. The only thing you cannot do is ignore Him.”
I agree with him only partially, because -as we can see in our societies- … many even Christians or Catholics ignore Christ, or prefer not to know Him. Ask please one of your relatives or friends a sincere a serious question: “Who is Jesus Christ for you?” … and in many cases the only answer you will get will be an embarrassment or awkward smile of discomfort. They are Christians, they are Catholics …. But the question is awkward … isn’t it?
And if I ask you the same question, what will be your answer? Not a catechetical or neutral answer but your personal, the most private, the most secret and most individual answer: “Who is Jesus Christ for me, here and now?”
I must decide -as someone has suggested- whether I am His disciple or just only His fan.
If I declare myself a disciple of Christ I have to know that the word disciple comes the word discipline … and it means that as a disciple I suppose to follow the discipline of Christ.
As a disciple I have to understand directly the words:
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
We must decide eventually WHO IS JESUS CHRIST FOR ME. If my answer is the same as St. Peter’s, I have to do something with it and not just pretend that I know Jesus and that I am His disciple.
And this has to be absolutely clear. Otherwise I am creating an idol who has nothing to do with and objective and Almighty God, I am creating my home-made religion and the value of this home-made religion is the same as the value of the home-made currency.