Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest (Memorial)

 

Who do you say that I am? 

 

At airports, at doctor’s offices, when cashing a check—so often we are asked to produce our ID.   We routinely present our driver’s license or some other form of identification without a second thought.   There it is:   a card that says who you are.

But you know that your identity doesn’t really exist on a card.   Your identity exists in the web of relationships that defines you and sustains you:   your parents, your siblings, your close friends, and your children.   All of them have helped shape you in ways that no single card could ever contain!

When Jesus asks his disciples,  “Who do you say that I am?”   Peter replies, correctly, “The Christ” (Luke 9:20).   But to what extent is he aware of the way in which being with Jesus has shaped his own identity?   Peter and the others have been following Jesus for some time now, and he has made an indelible mark on them.   He has reshaped them to the point that they are committed to following him even to his death.   They may not be completely faithful to him, and they have much more to learn, but they have already been changed in dramatic ways.

Who do you say that Jesus is?   Just as it did for the first disciples, your answer will come from the kind of relationship you have with him.   For example, if you say, “Jesus, you are Lord and Savior,” then you’ll do whatever he asks of you.   If you say, “You are the way, the truth, and the life,” then you’ll be willing to follow him, even in dark times.   If you say, “You are my friend,” then you will trust him in every situation.

Of course, all of these are absolute statements, and none of us can live them out perfectly.   Neither could Peter when he gave his answer.   But that’s okay.   When Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” he is also issuing you an invitation:   Stay close to me.   Immerse yourself in my love.   Spend time with my followers.   Your identity will continue to change, and you’ll become more and more faithful to me, just as Peter did.

“Jesus, you are the Christ!   Help me to find my true self in your love!”

Haggai 2:1-9
Psalm 43:1-4

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