Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Confession of Peter 

Now Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Messiah.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man 7 must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief  priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. Mk 8,27-31

Jesus, as normally we meet him in the gospel, is one who goes straight to his mission, without the slightest regard for what people think of him. Today, suddenly, he seems to contradict himself and he asks to his disciples two questions: “Who do people say that I am?” and “But who do you say that I am?”. It is clear that he does not care so much of the answer to the first question: this only serves as a bridge to introduce the second, which begins with a “but”. That “but” tells us that Jesus expects a different response from the disciples, though not that of Peter, who, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, surprises also Jesus. It is the surprising answer which, one day, a baker gave to us when we kept a marriage preparation course for the engaged couples of the deanery of Saronno. The meetings were held in the evening after dinner and a girl attending the course was always alone because she was engaged with a baker who, at that time, was preparing the bread for the next day. The last day, however, we asked her to come together with the boyfriend, so we could have at least known him  before signing the certificate of their presence. And he did so. In the end, before the signing, we put to that young man one only question: “Listen, who is Jesus for you?”.He looked at us and said, “The Son of God”. We signed immediately the certificate. Also to each of us the today’s  gospel puts the same question: “Who is Jesus of Nazareth for you?”. And the answer we give is personal. Many years ago our Maria Letizia, still a child, answered to this question as follows: “When I think of Jesus I feel like I have three parents”. Everyone, even atheists, has a high concept of Jesus and many recognize him as the model of his own ideals: sociologists, philosophers, historians, social workers. Today we try to forget all about him, even the concept which the Church has, and just let us ask a personal question: “Who is Jesus of Nazareth for me?”. Let’s see if, honestly, we can respond as Peter and that  baker: “He is the Christ, the Son of God, the always expected since long time, the one who answered the important questions of our lives, giving an absolute meaning to these years spent together and who is the only hope for the future”.

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