The Gospel reading this weekend focuses on the theme of “identity.” In particular, the identity of Jesus and the identity of the Church. Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am, and who do you say that I am?” In applying this question to our lives, we need to ask ourselves, what have I learned from others about God, and what is my personal conviction about the identity of God and my relationship with him? This is very crucial because it is one thing to know about God, it is another thing to have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian is called to be an evangelist, to preach the Good News of the Gospel to others. The challenge is, we cannot preach effectively to others about God if we do not have a personal encounter with the Risen Lord. The disciples and early Christians did not have a complete Bible or organized theological doctrines like we do today. They evangelized by simply sharing stories of their personal experiences and encounters with Jesus Christ, and brought others closer to God by committing their whole life to him. This is what we are also invited to do today, to share with others our personal experiences and encounters with God.
We also see in the Gospel today that Jesus revealed the identity of the Church to his disciples when he said, “Upon this rock I will build My Church.” Notice how Jesus clearly revealed the identity of the Church as “My Church,” not just any church. Jesus did not say, “I want you to build a church for me upon this rock.” In revealing the identity of the Church, Jesus also clearly identifies the leadership of the Church as being built on Peter. This clearly shows that Jesus established only one Church, the Catholic Church, entrusting the leadership of the Church to Peter and his successors. He did not say that anyone is free to establish churches in his name.
This is a Gospel passage we can easily put into practice in our daily lives. During the week, try to ask a family member, friend, or neighbor these two questions: Tell me about your personal perception of the identity of God? What is your understanding of the Catholic Church and her leadership? A[ er you listen to them, share with them your own experience and your personal understanding of God and Church. The more we engage in this reciprocal faith sharing, the more we grow in our faith.
Thank you and remain blessed,
Fr. JamesBACK TO LIST