Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
The Sunday bulletin at my parish often contains a few brief reflection questions related to the Sunday Liturgy of the Word. If I have my act together and arrive at Mass early, I like to spend a few moments with these prayer prompts. My journaled responses help me after Mass to synthesize the words of the priest in his homily with my own response to the Gospel.
Today’s question was simple:
“Who do you say that I am?” – What do your words and actions say?
We know that this particular gospel passage goes on to witness Jesus’ foreshadowing of the nastiness that’s to follow. He gives his his discples a sense of the strife they will experience. Today, as our diocese’s Vicar General preached, Jesus’ words rang in my heart:
- Are you ready to deny yourself, Lisa?
- Are you ready to take up your cross and follow me, Lisa?
- Are you willing to lose your life for my sake, Lisa?
These aren’t easy questions to answer at 9:30 in the morning before a second cup of coffee. I grapple to think of what “denying” oneself in the context of life as a 21st century housewife looks like. I ponder how inconsequential my particular “crosses” seem in contrast to those of the first disciples. I wrestle with how often I choose to “save” my life just as I like it, rather than to “lose” it for the sake of loving — and truly following — him.
Blessedly, Msgr. Cotta’s homily provided the answer to my internal conflict. I’m not on my own, left to respond and to act affirmatively in a void under “Lisa power”. In his homily, Msgr. Cotta dwelt upon the images of the “living water” used in today’s Liturgy of the Word. Beginning at the ambo and painting vivid imagery of the central role of fountains in Roman civilization, our priest wove a tapestry of “watery” symbolism, concluding his remarks standing directly next to the Baptismal font. There, he reminded us of our Baptismal promises, of our new life in Christ and our rebirth in him, and of our duty to embrace and to proclaim our faith.
So many times, I am reminded of how God has placed me exactly where I am to fulfill according to his plan my own personal “mission”. Who do I say that he is?
My best friend, confidant, role model and mentor.
My only pathway to true salvation.
My Lord and my God.
Do my actions say the same? Some days, yes. Other days, not so much.
This week, I’ll be busy praying about and focusing on getting my actions to better line up with my words in response to Jesus’ queries.
A question for you: Who do YOU say that he is?