by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
Among the various Gospel readings that we have Sunday after Sunday, I think this particular lesson is one that every one of us probably feels we can easily be drawn into that situation, put ourselves there with the disciples as Jesus says, “Who do people say I am?” And I think it’s easy to imagine how they must have kind of chatted with one another, “Well, what have you heard? What have I heard?” And they come up then with these answers: “Some say you’re John the Baptist.” That would be John risen from the dead because he had been put to death by Herod, and Herod was very frightened of that possibility.
“But then others,” the disciples said, “well, they say you’re Elijah or Jeremiah, one of the other prophets.” But then comes the really important question to those disciples and to every one of us: “Who do you say that I am?” “Who do you say that I am?” This is Jesus now, who we learn about through the Gospels: “Who do you say?” And that question, of course, is key to everything in our faith. Are we ready to say with Peter, “You are the Christ, the chosen one, the son of the living God”? And so we try to enter into this and see if we’re ready to say to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the son of the living God.”
There are many various commentaries about this Gospel lesson that then speak about this rock upon which Jesus builds the church, and the most ancient commentary understood that Peter was a type of every disciple, of every one of us. So if we can say, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God,” Jesus is saying to us, “This is a gift of faith. God has helped you to know this.” And so as a disciple, each one of us can also say, “Yes, Jesus is the Christ.”…