"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A most important question.

"Who do you say that I am?"

In today's Gospel, Christ asks Peter that question - again.  It seemed to me this Gospel has come up more than once recently in the Ordinary Form?  This morning it seemed almost too familiar.  But that is where I'm always wrong about the Gospel - those days when I think I 'know' it already.

Today I realized how critical it is for us to know precisely who Jesus Christ is.  As the Lord told Peter - the Father alone reveals this to the soul - while the convincing power of the Holy Spirit confirms our faith.  Jesus Christ is Lord.  We believe in one God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  But I digress...

The reason I say we must know precisely who Jesus Christ is is because of the 'new' martyrs.  Muslims do not know who Christ is - they believe him to be just another prophet.  Recently ISIS terrorists demanded a man deny Christ and embrace Islam - or be killed.  He denied Christ, only to be beheaded anyway.  Perhaps he didn't really know the difference - since Islam venerates the Virgin Mary and Jesus - yet for them, Jesus is only 'one of the prophets'.  Perhaps he misunderstood the teaching, "Muslims worship the same God" according to a popular, but heretical teaching known as 'indifferentism'?  I cannot know what the poor man was thinking, nor can I judge him - I can only pray for the man and all of the others facing martyrdom.

It seems to me that today our incessant theological and moral arguments, along with our highly esteemed notions of pluralism and diversity, can work together to become an 'obstacle' to faith.  Christ told Peter - who demonstrated he had the correct faith - only moments before his objection to the passion of Christ: "You are an obstacle to me.  You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do." 

Thus we see how important it is to know precisely who Jesus Christ is - 'who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow' and how the science of the cross remains unchanged - no matter how much we strive for religious freedom.

Today many of us think only in human terms - faith is somehow partitioned out.  We think in human terms and not as God does.  We see this thinking amongst Christians.  We see this thinking in and through the acceptance of divorce, contraception, and the evils generated by these sins.  Human comfort and well being - wanting people to be happy - is more important than the narrow way that leads to heaven.

We need to know precisely who Jesus Christ is.  To do this - to remain in that knowledge, I think we need to pray and spend much time with him, in his company in the Blessed Sacrament, in the Church, in Our Lady.

I also need to be careful not to be an obstacle to Christ and the Gospel.

I pray for an increase of faith.  Faith, hope, and charity.


  1. The only way to endure in affliction is to know Christ. That is my hope and my hope for my brothers and sisters who are suffering the world over especially in Iraq.

    Thanks for another great post, Terry

  2. “Today I realised how critical it is for us to know precisely who Jesus Christ is.”

    Not possible – in my book – even for believers. For he is a God of revelation who constantly reveals his love.

    None of us can be precise as to the love each of us receive or need from him. His spirit blows wherever it chooses. He cannot be determined by man’s concept of precision, “for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”

    And when we say: “I believe…” how strong is our belief? Strong enough never to sin again?

    When we say: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins…” do we truly forgive the sins of others, especially the wicked, especially our persecutors? There is no room for unforgiveness in heaven. Unforgiveness is what kept the elder brother waiting outside his Father’s house after his Father had invited him inside to celebrate with his lost brother, the sinner who wasted his inhereitance and slept with pigs.

    Strange how the Father never quizzed the youngest son about his sins on his return. Strange how Jesus never quizzed the thief on the cross when he promised him he would be in Paradise that day.

    Christians and Muslims both ‘believe’ in the Merciful God, God of Infinite Mercy. But some Christians and Muslims are slow to catch on that we are obliged to be merciful with each other. How precise should we be in showing mercy? Mercy is revealed in the number Jesus gave to Peter: not seven but seventy-seven.

    Seven represents limited precision. Seventy seven is seen as a number of repetition, continuity, everlasting. And who on earth can be precise about eternity and the loving mercy of God? :)

    1. This isn't a private, personal matter. 'Your book' counts for nothing. Jesus Christ is Lord. Read your catechism - the Church is founded upon Peter's confession. There is no ambiguity here. The creed we profess acknowledges the precise doctrinal teaching of who Jesus is. You take your personal, private opinion as gospel. We can know who Jesus Christ is - it is inscribed upon our hearts at baptism and confirmed by the Holy Spirit at confirmation. The Church has defined who Christ is - it is the Church - the dogma of faith I am addressing here. You are reading things into what I am saying. Muslim extremists are demanding Christians renounce their faith. The ultimate Christian witness to Jesus Christ is martyrdom - it is the ultimate witness of faith, the ultimate act of love, the fullest expression of Christological mercy and conformity to Christ himself.

      Why do you always present these arguments?

    2. In fact - how can anyone evangelize or bring Jesus to others, or as the pope says - to tell nonbelievers about Jesus unless we know him, unless we confess him as Lord and savior. Of course we grow in grace and wisdom and knowledge of God and will do so for all eternity - but our faith in Jesus Christ is not gnosticism or occult.

  3. “Today I realised how critical it is for us to know precisely who Jesus Christ is.”

    I understand fully that the Gospel message is: “Jesus Christ is Lord” But to “know” Jesus is not simply a matter of pronouncing “Jesus Christ is Lord” or even “I believe…”

    Jesus teaches: It is not those who say to me “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: “I have never KNOWN you; away from me you evil men!” (Matthew 7 : 21-27)

    Terry, I’m sorry if my comments have disturbed you or I have misunderstood your post. Better I refrain from responding to your posts in future.

    1. Obviously there is some language barrier or something? Maybe I'm just a really bad writer/communicator.


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