I believe in you Lord, and I will walk in your presence
In the land of the Living;
Show me the way.
On this Sunday the word of God calls us into question with two crucial questions:
“Who do you say Jesus of Nazareth is”?
Is your faith shown in your works?
I grew up hearing and reading some books about Jesus. I remember reading inspiring series about Jesus from Romano Guardini and Karl Adam and of course not forgetting my African writer Laurenti Magesa.
The Consolata missionaries with their charism of “Good must be done silently with your own hands” pictured in me Jesus who works hard and who is in solidarity with others.
Later on I was inspired by my professors in the seminary to have a clear picture of Jesus who was calling me. They instilled in me the painted picture of him from the Church’s perspectives of priesthood, vocation and service.
From the Gospels I get to learn the picture of Jesus; as one who opens the ears of the deaf, merciful one in solidarity with the less fortunate and the marginalized and welcomes all the people, the tax collectors and sinners. A man living on earth, fully human though he was, at the same time brought God to men and women. He the son and his Father are one. He made his Father visible and so our eyes can behold God. He is Jesus who is ready to offer his life on the cross for the salvation of many.
Now the situation is changing in the midst of our new “Ceasarea Philippi” of science and technology, social media and Family environs; who is Jesus?
In my reflection today I choose to explore on “Christ of Faith” and how our faith in him is shown by actions/works. The spiritual wind that is blowing in and out of the church is taking away the glimpse of who is Jesus and therefore we can rethink our pastoral practices that reveal more who is this Jesus we preach, follow and believe.
Peter knows succinctly well that he is the “Christ”. Peter’s answer is loud and clear and it reveals that his faith in Jesus is deeper. He believes that Jesus is more than a teacher or a prophet.
James in the second reading reminds us that our deeper faith in Jesus Christ is expressed when we listen and actualize what Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ states:
“In the present condition of global society where injustices abound and growing numbers of people are deprived of basic human rights and considered expendable, the principle of the common good immediately becomes logically and inevitably a summon to solidarity and a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters”(158).
Perhaps when we want to actualize the words of James and the exhortation of Pope Francis we meet obstacles on the way. These obstacles may come from those without deeper faith in Christ and have not known the deeper mystery of faith in Christ entails sacrificing ourselves for others, our time and even our material possessions.
Jesus is revealing the way to us that he came not to teach us philosophy but to show us the way of life through an expressed faith in our concrete realities in the life of our poor brothers and sisters. That is a shown faith, and a deeper faith in Christ who is more than a teacher and a prophet but a “Messiah”/Christ-one who is ready to take a concrete action of dying for all to have life. Our faith is in this kind of Jesus who shows his faith in us by offering himself to death.
Please, dig deep your roots of faith. Who is Jesus for you as an individual? Is he a teacher or a prophet or a Messiah? What is your experience of Jesus as a small Christian community or a parish community? Did we show our faith in Christ and revealed who Jesus is to our less fortunate neighbours in our community especially the poor? Following Jesus in whom we have faith involves our commitment and sacrifice but not just proclamation.
Caeserea Phillippi city of the gods.