Who Do You Say That I Am?
Monday, February 21, 2011
By Father Mark Mary

This past week in our lectionary readings, we have been reading the passage in Marks Gospel where Jesus asks the disciples, Who do you say that I am? Peter answers, You are the Christ. Meaning, You are the Messiah, the Savior sent by the Father. Then Jesus teaches about how He must suffer many things, be rejected and be killed, and, then, after three days rise again. Jesus only reveals himself as the Messiah with the teaching of how He is going to save the world, through His suffering. death and resurrection.

This passage of Scripture is always mysteriously striking to me. It gets at the heart of what kind of Savior Jesus is going to be. Many of us believe in God and we want Him to make our lives better in some wayto take away our difficulties and make life good for us. Certainly, we have all experienced Gods blessings in our lives in some way. Things improve, but there are always areas that we still struggle with or in which we want more out of life.

Our belief in God can be at a distance, where we believe that He exists and has various attributes and we hope to receive good things from Him, but we have not really entrusted ourselves to Him. Jesus redeems the world through the cross. He is obedient to the Fathers will; He sacrifices Himself; He gives of Himself for salvation. Our faith in Him as our Savior calls us to share in that same self-offering and obedience.

In the next few verses, Jesus speaks of the demands of discipleship, saying that we must take up our cross and follow Him. It sounds just too big at first. Crucifixion was an agonizing and terrifying way to die. In taking up our cross, we are not sure what He is going to ask of us, where He is going to lead us, and we fear that we might not get what we want. As Mother Angelica has said, We balk at putting someone else in charge [of our lives]. The last thing we want to endure or accept is weakness and dependence.

Maybe, instead of being paralyzed by the fear of what Jesus might ask of us, we can just begin this process with a gentle offering of ourselves to Him. As Mother Theresa puts it, To give God permission to do what He wants in our lives. Instead of jumping to a worst case scenario of our greatest fear in life, we simply say, Jesus I am Yours to do with me as You will. I trust You will be with me in all difficulties, and I will go where You lead me and do what You ask me to do.

Jesus will lead us, and, in fact, I think, most people have trouble keeping up with what service He has for us to do. He will be with as well, closest to us in our most difficult moments. From eternity, we will be able to look back and see His providence and closeness in our lives. And God will draw fruit from our lives if we follow Him. The fruit comes not from worldly strength and security, but from the union of our lives with His, the union of our cross with His.



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