Tuesday – Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
Gospel – Matthew 16:13-19
Who Are You?
Church of St.
Peter Primacy, Sea of Galilee
Who are you? No, I don’t mean the theme song from CSI! I mean, if someone asked you who you are, how would you answer? Some would respond simply with their name. Others might say I’m a father, a wife, a son, grandma, cousin, or friend. Still others might say teacher, police officer, carpenter, lawyer, nurse, student, bus driver, web designer, or athlete. No matter what the answer, each response speaks of a relationship, a connection to others. Each response ties us to others in unique and personal ways. None of us live in isolation; we all live in relationship with others.
Jesus asks a similar question in today’s Gospel. Who do people say I am? Some say John the Baptist reborn, or Elijah or Jeremiah or a prophet. Jesus then asks - who do YOU say I am? And it’s Peter who responds – You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God! Peter’s answer is one of faith! But it also a recognition of Jesus’ relationship to us. You are the Christ – the Messiah, OUR Savior. You are the SON of God! It is an answer that reflects relationships! Jesus is not just God; He is OUR Savior. He is OUR Brother!
We celebrate today the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, 2 completely different individuals. Peter was a poor uneducated fisherman living off the sweat of his brow. He was hard-headed and impulsive; he didn’t always understand what Jesus was saying; he kept asking Him to explain things. Paul was highly educated, rich, a Roman citizen, and a zealous Pharisee who persecuted Jesus’ followers. The two of them did not always get along. And yet they had one key thing in common – they were brothers in Christ. They were committed to spreading the Word of God.
So who are you? Do you consider yourself a child of God? How important is that relationship to you? Do you live your life spreading the Word? How dedicated are you to your Brother Jesus? If you had to choose between the two saints of the day, who would you identify with? Peter or Paul? Which one’s life story resonates with your own?
Are we impulsive like Peter, jumping out of a boat in the middle of a storm? Do you have a faith so strong that you willingly follow the Lord even if it means walking away from family and occupation? Do you rush into situations and only then try to understand? Do you ask Jesus to help explain the Scriptures? Have you at times lost faith or even denied your Christianity? Have you then come to your senses and express sorrow and contrition for your actions?
Or are we like Paul? So self-confident, so sure of himself that he is willing to silence, even kill, anyone who doesn’t share his religious beliefs? So lacking in humility that it literally takes getting knocked off his horse for him to see the right path? If we are honest, there is, at times, a bit of both in all of us!
Both men – so imperfect, so full of faults, so human! And yet Jesus loves them both, forgives them both, inspires them both to follow Him. We are all children of God! We are all brothers and sisters of Jesus! How will He inspire us today? How will we follow Him today?