To follow this Messiah, we must also be willing to take up our cross. Who is Jesus to you?
Chair of Saint Peter, the Apostle : Monday 22nd February 2021
1 Pt. 5:1-4; Ps. 22:1-3a,3b-4,5,6;
Mt. 16:13-19 (Ps Wk I)
The advice in Peter’s Letter is valid at all times. He urges those in positions of authority to be faithful shepherds and not lord over others. They must be a good example, always. We can see an excellent example of this in our own time in Pope Francis. He urges shepherds to ‘smell like the sheep’ — to identify with them and be part of their lives. They must live simple, austere, but joyful lives poured out in service to others. This is good advice for anyone in a position of authority over others: parents, bosses, priests, and bishops. It is nothing less than the example of Christ.
Jesus asked his disciples a pointed question: ‘what are they saying about me on the street?’ The disciples repeated what they have heard from others: Elijah, prophet, and so on. The next question is also aimed at us: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Peter gives a great answer for which he is praised and rewarded: Messiah, Son of the living God. Each of us has to answer that question for ourselves. We cannot merely repeat what we hear from others — we have to make a personal response from the heart. We cannot live someone else’s faith. Jesus adds something else: this Messiah suffers and dies for the sake of others. Those who claim to follow this Messiah must also be willing to take up their cross. Each day let us answer the question anew: who is Jesus for me?
Lord, may I know You more deeply.