Twelfth Week In Ordinary Time
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “the Christ of God.” He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
Who do the crowds say that I am? Well Lord, it all depends on who you ask. If you ask a communist, they will say you were a revolutionary. If you ask a green, they will say you were an environmentalist. If you ask a materialist, they will say you were just a man. If you ask an atheist, they will say you never existed!
Who do you say that I am? Oh Lord, that’s an entirely different question! When I was young, I didn’t know what to think of you. At first I thought you were someone like the tooth fairy, the sandman, even sometimes the boogey man. But even at an early age, I knew you weren’t Batman, Superman, Ironman, Spiderman or The Hulk. In fact, all the kids know that, even today!
But later on, I thought you were money and power and sex. Then, I thought you were a figment of my imagination or of constipation. When I turned to you I only did so out of desperation, in times of distress, when all else (or everyone else) failed me. While I attended college, I thought that math had outgrown you and science had outsmarted you and so I began to believe that the Universe was you and the earth was Mother Nature.
Never in a million years did I ever think I would return to you.
But I did. I finally found you and was reminded of you in the least likely of people: among honest-to-God non-believers; those who held little to no value for human life, especially the weakest of them all, the unborn. I found you when I observed the arrogant and prideful (those who spoke highly of themselves) cast you aside. I found you in my history books when we talked about Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. I found you when we talked about corruption inside the Church and outside the Church. I found you when my professors, who knew one particular subject but thought they knew it all, ridiculed you and stepped all over you. I found you in my first class of philosophy! Yes, I will never forget when I walked into my first class of philosophy (Introduction to Philosophy) and was handed a book entitled: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I didn’t know it was a snow job back then, but I knew something was wrong, very wrong with this. After all, when in the world did philosophy begin with a book written in 1974 and not in 300BC; with morals and not with ‘being’; with Pirsing and not with Plato? I soon discovered that it was not philosophy that was being taught but propaganda that was being bought!
I discovered you, O Lord, when I tried to understand the arguments made against you, and how one atheist contradicted the other…after the other, after the other. Weren’t they supposed to be the scientific ones? Weren’t their arguments supposed to be as clear as day? The real doozy came to me when I learned that even scientific theories needed to garner enough votes in order to be approved! How strange! The more I looked into it, the more I was amazed. It turns out that life was defined by vote, and that the question of when life began was settled by vote. It turns out that homosexuality was removed from the list of illness by vote. And now, just recently, The American Medical Association will decide, by vote, to call obesity a disease!
When in the world did scientists and doctors become politicians and voters?
Oh, Lord, I tried to get away from you with data, but then I saw how data was used (and manipulated) to prove only what others wished to prove!
As all these superior beings began to fail me, you began to impress me even more and more.
He rebuked them and told them not to tell anyone. Why, Lord? Why keep it all hidden? I understand. I finally get it. Anyone can tell me who you are, but no one can reveal to me who you are. This can only be done by you and The Father.
But how? What must I do? Pray! Pray and learn to be obedient.
Yes Lord, you have revealed your true identity to me through my vow of obedience. When I was weak, you made me strong. When I feared, you kept me in battle. When I did not want to move, you moved me. When I did not want to do what you asked me to do, I did it. By obedience, I learned to trust in you; I learned to love you. But most importantly, I learned that you were God.
I would never have known that Jesus is Lord unless I had pledged my obedience to Him. This constitutes a serious dilemma for atheists and presents a powerful argument (revelation) for all humanity.
Throughout the world belief (allegiance) in God remains strong, even though belief (allegiance) in one’s nation, news outlets, political party, and representatives is at an all time low. People believe in very little, but they almost unanimously believe in God. And that belief is strong.
Get up and start walking. Start walking the walk that leads to Him. No one can do this for you. You will never see what Peter saw unless you see it for yourself. You will never come to the same conclusion he came to simply because the Bible tells you so (just like you will never be able to come to the conclusion that God loves you “because the bible tells me so”).
I must experience His life in my life. That’s how Peter did it. He knew Jesus as the Messiah because He knew what the Messiah had done for him. He saved him.