FRIDAY, TWENTY FIFTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Hag 2: 1-9; Ps 43: 1-4; Lk 9: 18-22
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
In the Gospel of today, we find Jesus praying alone. Luke in his gospel mentions many instances of Jesus praying, especially before significant events in his public life. We may wonder what Jesus was praying for. Such thoughts betray a limited understanding of what prayer is. Prayer isn’t always going to God to seek a favour or to find relief from some trouble or difficulty. Jesus prayed to know the will of his Father and act accordingly.
After his prayer, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” followed by the more important question, “Who do you say that I am?” The apostles followed Jesus, spent time with him, heard him preaching, saw him performing miracles; did they know him better than the crowds? Grace is needed to know the Lord. Peter was enlightened by God in his heart and mind to know who Jesus was, and he declared his faith.
Jesus’ prediction about his death shows that he accepted the cross out of his own free will. It was a voluntary act. He had the power to crush his enemies, but he accepted death on the cross for the sake of humanity so that he may pay our debts by his own blood and reconcile us to God. The purpose of the death of Jesus was defined in Scripture about seven hundred years ago when the prophet Isaiah spoke about the Messiah (cf. Is 53:3-5). The Messiah would be hated and rejected, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. That is exactly what Jesus said would happen to him.
Today Jesus asks each of us the same question: “Who do you say that I am?” Who is Jesus to us? How does his presence impact our life? He desires a personal relationship with each of us. Let us open the doors of our hearts so that we may receive the grace of God and, like Peter, be able to proclaim, “You are the Christ!”
Response: Hope in God; I will praise him yet again,
my saving presence and my God.
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