"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.