Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 97. Zechariah 12:10-11. Psalm 63: 2.3-4.5-6.8-9.
Galatians 3:26-29. Luke 9:18-24:
Questions are part of our ordinary process of learning and growing into
maturity. Children start asking questions soon after they have gathered a
vocabulary that can get them what they want from their parents. Questions
soon are part of their growth. Then the parents start asking questions as
the children grow into their teenage years. Teachers make it part of their
agenda for learning and many use the Socratic method to get the students
participating. We ask questions both about our own spiritual life and
about subjects and issues which interest us. Jesus was the master of
asking questions of the crowds, the scribes and religious leaders, and
especially of his disciples and his apostles. He even asked his mother a
question upon her finding him in the Temple after three days, "Did you not
know I must be about my Father's business?"(Luke 2:49). The personality of
Jesus as a teacher who asks a lot of questions is especially part of Mark's
portrait of Jesus. Just take a look at the bevy of questions Jesus asks
his disciples when they mistake his talk about the leaven of the Pharisees
In today's Gospel Jesus asks about what the crowd thinks of him and with
whom do they identify him. Then he turns to his disciples and asks them
and us, since we are his disciples too, "Who do you say that I am?" He then
probes further and one of them, Simon Peter, answers "You are the Messiah."
This particular question is recalled by Mark, Matthe, and Luke. There is
some similarity too in John 6:67-69. The question is asked of all of us who
are his disciples. He keeps probing us to get the answer as he asks us,
"Who do you really think I am? or in our words, do you really know who I
am?" "Who am I for you at this stage in your journey of life with me?" We
do get some answers in today's Gospel and some leads. Some say Jesus is a
prophet (Yes, and more than that). Some say he seems to be John the
Baptist; others say he is Elijah and is telling us that the Messiah is
near. Yet that is not the answer. Peter comes to the fore and inspired by
the Holy Spirit says, "You are the Messiah (the Christ, the Anointed One).
In Matthew we hear Peter saying, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living
God." In John Peter answers "You are the Holy One of God" (John 6;69).
If we look at several of the other disicples of the Lord we find them
growing in their knowledge of Jesus by moving from one answer to another.
This is especially seen in John 1:35-51 where Nathaniel, the sincere
Israelite, grows in his giving Jesus certain titles and roles. So, too, in
chapter 4 of John the Samaritan woman keeps dialoging with Jesus and each
times addresses him with a higher title. We, too, need to grow in knowing
who Jesus is in our lives. Martha does this after her brother dies and she
asks Jesus to do something about it to help her and Mary through their
grief. Jesus says to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; ;he who
believes in me, even if he die, shall live; and whoever lives and believes
in me, shall never die. And then the question comes, "Do you believe this?"
She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe thou art the Christ, the Son of God,
who has come into the world." (John 11:25-27).
Our Gospel continues to move us to deeper insights into Jesus. Jesus asks
us to come to follow him even in the mysteries of his life--his sufferings,
death, and resurrection. Certainly we are united to the Paschal Mystery
and experience the Cross in our different struggles in life. Like the
apostles and even the crowd we will keep growing in our knowledge of who
Jesus is by examining our experiences in the light of his presence within
us. And when we begin to experience Jesus as Lord and Messiah we are
answering the question he posed. We even are led to believe that he is the
Word of God who exists from all eternity with the Father and the Spirit.
Let us not stop listening to the questions that Jesus and the Gospels pose
to us. Let us also ask questions of ourselves and how we can better
discover who Jesus really is through our own experiences of his life within
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