Matthew 16:13-23 You Are the Christ!
“Who do people say that I am?” The elephant in the room is finally being addressed! The Apostles begin discussing the options, but very, very conservatively. Who is Jesus? Is he a prophet, a warrior, a returned version of John the Baptist, a great man, simply a man, a revolutionary, a hippie, a yuppie, an environmentalist, a pacifist, or an advocate for the poor and other social issues? Who is he? Who is God? Is the Lord created in my image and likeness or am I created in His image and likeness? Throughout the centuries man has always tried to box in, wrap up, or seal God within human reason and personal limitations.
Jesus is Lord. And only to those with a pure heart, simple heart, childlike heart, is the Kingdom of God revealed. “I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people…All, from least to greatest, shall know me.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Who do people say that I am?
This question can only be answered correctly with the help of the Holy Spirit. No one, absolutely no one, can say that Jesus is Lord unless he is moved by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). “Who do people say that I am? will depend on what they believe in, how they pray and how they live their lives. “Create a clean heart in me, O God.” (Ps 51:12a) For this reason, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is divided into three parts: Creed, Cult and Conduct.
Who do people say that YOU are?
One of the most challenging parts of any conversion experience is to follow up on your beliefs. When I was beginning my long journey back to the Catholic faith, I soon realized that if I believe in God, then I must live what I believe! This is and still is the most challenging aspect of any conversion process. We must preach what we believe and live what we preach! Otherwise, our faith is in vain. As soon as Peter identifies who Jesus is, Jesus identifies to Peter who he is. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…” The new man has been created, or better still, the “old man” has been re-created. Who I am will depend on what I believe, how I pray, and how I live my life. “Faith without works is dead!” This means, “The wages of sin is death”, but the Good News is, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 6:23) What a beautiful summary for our meditation today.
Jesus answered his own question in the following way: “I am The Way, the Truth and the Life.” Today, the Lord asks you to preach, worship and live The Life that is in you.