August 24, 2014
Today’s Gospel presents us with Jesus and His Apostles travelling to an out of the way place to be asked a question and to discover an answer. This passage has Jesus and His Apostles travelling to a particular location way north in Galilee called Ceasarea Philippi.
This city contained one of the most prominent landmarks in all of Israel. It was built on a massive wall of rock over 100 feet high and 500 feet wide. There, a marble temple had been erected to honor Caesar who considered himself to be a god. Through the years, hundreds of people travelled to this spot to carve niches into the side of this enormous cliff, place statues of their pagan gods into them and then worship these pagan gods.
Jesus took His Apostles some 25 miles out of the way, all on foot!, for the sole purpose of asking them a single question. He obviously wanted the backdrop of a massive rock, a marble temple and all the honors given to the emperors and their gods, when He asked a question that is possibly the most important in all of the Gospels….”Who do you say that I am?”
That same question, of course is not addressed only to His first followers thousands of years ago. It echoes down through the centuries until it lands on each of our ears today…”Who do you say that I am?”
Possibly, like those first Apostles, you and I are called to travel to the “out of the way place” to be asked that question and to discover an answer. Simon Peter answers the question, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus compliments Simon. The answer is a revelation from the Father. Simon was given the name, Peter, which means rock. Jesus proclaims the Church will be built on the rock of Simon Peter’s faith.
Like Simon Peter, we are called to be open to travel to a new place, to embrace a new direction, to receive new insights into that question. Possibly, we take a trip somewhere, go to a new place, interact with a new person, take up a new project and in that framework we are open to receiving the question and discovering the answer.
At various times in our lives, this question will be asked of us. I hope that we can answer the question in our present existential situation. Who is Jesus for me? Is He the Lord of my life? If He is Lord of my life, is Christ ruling over all my decisions and actions? Am I living the life, which He wants me to live? Am I responding to the invitations that Christ gives me?
This passage involves the Church and our parish community is part of the Universal Church…How am I responding to the basic invitation to share my time, talent and treasure with our parish community? I would like to again thank Kathy Bartoszek, our Parish Picnic Committee, all the volunteers and everyone who donated their time, talent and treasure to make our Parish Picnic a beautiful event. The response of many people to this event was an inspiring example of answering the questions: Who is Jesus for me? What is the Lord calling me to do?
Invitations to worship, fellowship, education and service oftentimes appear in our parish bulletin. It is always good to pray over the invitations and ask the Lord if He is calling us to respond to a particular invitation. Everyone is invited to come see a movie Friday night, August 29
at 6:30 pm at the rectory. “God is Not Dead” is a story of a first year college student who is challenged by his philosophy professor to present his reason for believing in God.
Also, for those who are interested in receiving the sacraments of our Catholic Faith, we will also be having RCIA classes. Please contact our pastoral minister, Karen Beargie should you wish to participate or if you have questions. You may call her at 216-641-8444; ext. 13.
All of us are called to have a personal relationship with Christ and to have interpersonal relationships with one another. The Church begins being built upon the rock of Peter’s faith. The Church continues to be built upon the rocks of our faith as well.
Let us continue to display openness to travel beyond our personal map of reality, beyond our personal comfort zones to be asked the question and to respond with an answer to the question “Who do you say that I am?” The question is not posed only once but continues to be asked as we journey through life together. Not only our words but more importantly our actions are an answer to these questions:
- Who is Jesus for me?
- What is Christ calling me to do to build our parish community?
May our lives display a positive openness to these questions as we travel together with Jesus and His Apostles.