Who Do You Say that I Am?

June 29, 2017 – Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (16:13-19)

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

Reflect: But who do you say that I am? To this question, Peter makes a great proclamation of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” For Peter (as well as for Paul and all the apostles), the message of Jesus was new. Nonetheless, he profoundly experienced the presence of God in Jesus. And his statement of faith is professed through the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. As we celebrate this great solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, we recognize why both of these apostles are held in great esteem by the Church: they talked the talk, and walked the walk of faith in an exceptional way. They laid down the foundation for so much of what we live and profess as disciples in the world today. We have the grace of two thousand years of great witnesses showing us the way to Jesus. Nonetheless, each of us must respond personally to that same question: “Who do you say that I am?” We aren’t exempt from answering that question simply because we stand on the shoulders of generations of women and men who professed their faith and put their lives on the line for the sake of Jesus. No one else can answer that fundamental question for us. Who will we proclaim with our words and actions as our Lord and Savior today?

Questions: What do my words and actions say about my faith and my belief in Jesus as Savior of the world? What about my words and actions may contradict what I hope to profess about Jesus Christ? In what ways do I need to invite the Holy Spirit to lead me to a deeper conversion of heart so that I can be a more authentic witness and disciple of Jesus to the world?

Pray: Loving God, thank you for the witness and example of faith of Saints Peter and Paul.  Help me to never take your love for me for granted, but give me the courage and conviction to proclaim you as the only, perfect God with all my strength and every fiber of my being. I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saints Peter and Paul: Pray for us!                                     

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