Daily Reflection -2/21/19
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” (Mark 8:27-33)
This Gospel has a very clear mandate: to discover who this Jesus of Nazareth may be. Through his texts, Mark has been offering us other people’s reactions to Jesus: the sick ones, the disciples, the scribes and Pharisees. And today, He is directly asking us: “But you, who do you say I am?”
On this past Saturday, I was on retreat with our Bishop. In his homily, he asked us two questions: “Who Are You” and “What Do You Have?” The two questions are intertwined with this Gospel.
If we are truly seeking a deeper relationship with Christ, we must know Him in our life. That only comes from prayer and reflection. It is not enough to know the historical Jesus or to hear about Jesus in whatever liturgy you attend. There can be no true knowledge of Him without identifying Him in your life. By seeing his patterns move in our lives and sense how He kindles the flame that glows in our hearts. When we can feel Christ, when we can converse with Christ then can we turn our eyes outward and prove our relationship with Him by the example of our lives. Our hearts must beat his own beat, sing his own song, and whisper his own silence. But this is possible only if we know who God is in our life, his place and his role.
I distinctly remember being berated by a former parishioner in Central America who said that he was tired of being made to feel guilty. That he had no belief in trying to be Christ because no one can be Christ. He then closed by saying that he tries to live a good life and that should be enough.
My answer then and now is that it is not enough. Not if you claim Jesus Christ as your Savior and desire to live eternally with Him.
As the Bishop spoke on Saturday, I answered quietly to myself: “ I am but a broken vessel who knows that I can only be filled with the cleansing waters of redemption when I live my life centered on Him. I fall and fail time and time again, but my eyes are fixed on Him. What do I have? I have whatever talents he gave me, and I constantly try to use them for others. To be Christ centered and to try and give as much of myself is who I am and what I have. As He was selfless, so should I be.
The Way of the Cross was not for Jesus alone but also for everyone who professed to follow him. Carry that cross each day and be liberated by its love.
Prayer of The Day
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must come to know through prayer the liberating presence of God’s love, which is present in our life. He keeps on making alliances with us with clears signs of his presence, just as that rainbow appearing through the clouds promised Noah.
Life seen as merely as a self-centered earthly existence and lived in denial of Christ ends in destruction, but when lived in loyalty to Christ, despite earthly death, it arrives at fullness of life.