Sunday Morning in Caesarea Philippi 13

Who do you say that I am?

This Sunday’s Gospel reading (Mk 8:27-35) is about things we take for granted.


I’ve never been to Caesarea Philippi.

(I made it to the Holy Land, but my flight arrived half a day later than the rest of my group, so I “missed the bus” to Caesarea Philippi… But I got to enjoy a pleasant evening in Nazareth by myself — I really shouldn’t complain.)

If I could have been numbered among the lucky few who were there with Jesus when he asked the Big Question, “Who do you say that I am?” I’d like to think that I would have answered like Simon Peter:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Wouldn’t we all?

But perhaps that’s being presumptuous. After all, only one man actually said it. Everyone else present bit their tongue.

So how is it possible that I can say it today, over 2000 years later, thousands of miles from the spot where Peter said it? By the same faith that Peter had, that’s how.

Saint Peter’s confession was not just a lucky guess. He did not just blurt out the first stray thought that entered his mind. He had a privileged gift that you and I do not have of being a first hand apostle of Jesus Christ. He also had the gift of faith.

In a way, I’m glad I missed the bus to Caesarea Philippi. It made me reflect on the more important things that I so often take for granted. Just to be able to say Jesus Christ is Lord is a blessing in itself.

13 comments

  1. The Holy Land is on the bucket list of to-do’s! What a privilege.

    Been doing loads of reading on faith and reason and thought this would be an appropriate quote in response in reference to faith in the Gospel today.
    “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart the desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself — so that by knowing and loving God, men and women can come to the fullness of the truth about themselves” (n. 1). With these words Pope John Paul II begins the encyclical, Fides et Ratio.

    St. Peter knew Jesus as the Messiah through Jesus’ revelation of Himself, and because he lived with Jesus. I wonder whether he did reason about his belief about Jesus being the Christ. I think perhaps not. The rest of the disciples didn’t answer that readily or in recognition of who Jesus really is.
    Peter’s answer set him apart from the rest. For me, this is the question that tests our conviction in Jesus and reveals whether we have submitted ourselves to the Lord, without question. Without reserve.

    • “God has placed in the human heart the desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself…” This is a very fitting quote to go along with today’s Gospel. We really do not know perfectly what went through Peter’s head, but we can sure know what was in his heart. Love for Christ is love for truth. Thank you for the comment!

    • God finds regular and irregular ways to tell us things, just to help us realize he is always talking and that he is there with us in every situation. God bless, SR!

    • St Peter got it wrong a good number of times too, but what matters is the fact that he also got it right, or perhaps the fact that God got him first. “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you” (John 15:16)

    • An intriguing question, Citizen Tom. I believe God’s initiative comes first, yet he leaves us the freedom of the will to choose and never overrides our abilty to use our own reason in the process. Ultimately, it is a great mystery — hence, the need for faith…

      • When we have so much trouble understanding the mind of an Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton, we are going to understand God? :!:

        I suppose that’s where the mystery comes in. Why do so many of us insist that He should run the world our way?

    • As far as the heavens are above the earth are his ways above our ways… You hit the nail on the head. And I like that smiley with the exclamation point, by the way. Never seen that one before. God bless!

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