Dear Friends: The following article is from the Ogdensburg Ministerial Association. We hope you find it uplifting and informative. The title of todays article is:, Who do YOU say that I am?
By DEACON JOHN WHITE
St. Marys Cathedral
This past Sunday, the 12th in Ordinary Time of the Church Calendar, we heard Jesus pose that famous question; the question that each of us must continually attempt to answer deep within our hearts if we truly wish to be known as Christian Who do you say that I am? (Luke 9:18-24). Previously, He addressed the question in a slightly different vein. He asked His Disciples, His closest associates, who the crowds that followed said that He was. They answered variously John the Baptist; Elijah; and one of the great Prophets has arisen! The people following Jesus to hear His teachings; to witness His actions; to share in His company; knew He was someone extraordinary. They may not have been convinced as yet that He was the long-awaited Messiah who would free them and reunite them as a people; but they were convinced that He was far beyond any person they had ever encountered. They may not have understood that the bondage from which He would free them was not a political freedom, but rather liberation from Sin and Death. They did certainly find hope for the future in His message of Gods love.
On Monday, the Church celebrated the Birth of John the Baptist, the infant who leapt in the womb in the presence of Mary and the Child she carried. John knew, from before his birth, who Jesus was! (Luke 1:41). When John came of age; this last and arguably greatest of the Old Testament Prophets; he undertook the task given him at the time of his birth; to go before the Lord to prepare his way; to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins (see – Luke 1:76-80). It is John who tells us that One greater than he is coming; and also John who tells us Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (see John 1:26-34). Yes! John knew exactly who Jesus was.
On Saturday, the Church will celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. It is Peter who answers Jesuss question who do you say that I am? It is Peter who states that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (see Matthew 16: 13-19). It is Peter who receives the promise of the keys of the kingdom; the sign of stewardship to watch over the People of God after Jesuss death, Resurrection and Ascension. It is Peter who is asked Do you love Me? three times after the Resurrection; and told three times to feed My sheep (see John 21:15-19). It is Paul, that great persecutor of the early Church, who is literally thrown for a loop on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9: 1-30). It is Paul who gives us most of what we know as the New Testament. It is Paul who gives perhaps the earliest Christological explanation of who Jesus is. It is Paul who gives us Jesus the Son of God to guide and enlighten us still today. Yes, Peter and Paul came to know exactly who Jesus was.
These celebrations are like bookends to our week. At either end of the week we have the example of those who truly knew the answer to Jesuss question. Maybe we could use the time in between to learn from their example, and their teachings, to try and answer Jesuss question ourselves. Maybe when we can truly say, as Peter did, that Jesus is the Son of God; and allow Him to enter our hearts, and change our hearts. Maybe then we can truly come to be known as Christian!