“Who do people say that I am?” | iPray with the Gospel
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.” And he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
There were many different opinions about Jesus. He was famous and people talked about Him everywhere. ‘A holy man? A wise rabbi? A prophet, even?’ ‘Could be’, people argued among themselves. None of these answers could have had Him arrested and killed. But He wasn’t just that… He was “the Christ of God”; and that could certainly sign His death warrant as well as that of His followers.
Even today, Jesus is referred to as a prophet, a ‘spiritual leader’, a ‘wise philosopher’, a ‘social reformer’, or something of that sort. Those titles have ‘public acceptance’. But declaring that He is God can certainly get us into trouble. Our Lord knew that. He warned His disciples that they should be ready to lose their lives for His sake. We will probably never be asked to give our lives, but we can be asked to endure hard times for confessing our faith in Him. What are we ready to lose for Him?
During the persecution of Christians in Mexico it was diffcult to attend Mass. Priests went into hiding and Masses were said in a different house every day. One day the Mass was going to be celebrated in a barn in the countryside. Right before it started a squad of soldiers stormed in, catching everyone by surprise. The officer addressed the people saying: ‘Those who are ready to die can stay.’ People started leaving the barn, one by one, until in the end just the priest and half a dozen people were left. Then, the officer said to the priest: ‘Now, father, that all those who are ready to die for Jesus are here, we can start the Mass.’
Mary, my Mother, Help of Christians, be at my side that I may not fail to defend boldly my faith in your Son.
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).