DO WE BELIEVE IN JESUS?
The first Christian generations preserved the memory of this Gospel episode as a story of vital importance for Jesus’ followers. Their intuition was certain. They knew that Jesus’ Church ought to listen over and over again to the question that Jesus one day made to his disciples in the neighborhood of Caesaria Philippi: «And you, who do you say that I am?».
If we allow our faith in Jesus to be extinguished in our Christian communities, we will lose our identity. We won’t get it right when we try living with creative audacity the mission that Jesus entrusted to us; we won’t dare to confront the present moment, open to the newness of his Spirit; we’ll suffocate ourselves in our mediocrity.
Our times aren’t easy. If we don’t turn to Jesus more truthfully and faithfully, disorientation will go on paralyzing us; our grandiose words will keep on losing their credibility. Jesus is the key, the foundation and the font of all that we are, say, and do. Who is Jesus for us Christians today?
We confess, as Peter does, that Jesus is «the Messiah of God», the one sent by the Father. That’s certain: God has loved the world so much that God has given us Jesus. Do we Christian know how to welcome, care for, enjoy and celebrate this great gift of God? Is Jesus the center of our celebrations, meetings and gatherings?
We confess him also as «Son of God». He can teach us to know God better, to trust more in the Father’s goodness, to listen more faithfully to God’s call to build a more fraternal and just world for all. Are we discovering in our communities the true face of God incarnate in Jesus? Do we know how to announce it and communicate it as great news for everyone?
We call Jesus «Savior» because he has power to humanize our lives, free us as persons and lead human history toward its true and definitive salvation. Is this the hope that breathes among us? Is this the peace that spreads from our communities?
We confess Jesus as our only «Lord». We don’t want to have other lords or submit ourselves to false idols. But does Jesus really occupy the center of our lives? Do we give him absolute primacy in our communities? Do we put him above all and above everyone else? Are we of Jesus? Is he the one who breathes in us and makes us alive?
The great task of Christians today is to join forces and open paths to reaffirm all the more Jesus’ centrality in his Church. Everything else flows from that.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf