Not many people are honest enough or brave enough to ask the question in today’s Gospel. Just think about you asking some friend, or perhaps, more courageously some enemy, “Who do you say that I am? What do people think of me?” Or take a step forward and ask yourself, “Who am I?”
Who are you beyond your job title or your degree or trade? So often, we try to be like the people we see in the commercials: neat, well dressed and smiling. Smelling great, hair gleaming, and underarms sterilized; homes comfortable and lives stress-free. There is no blemish; laughter, joy and the good life abound. But that is not real. That is not who we are. Who are you beyond all the externals?
Who do you say that I am, is the question that Jesus asks in today’s Gospel. How you answer that question says a lot about you. Does Jesus have any effect on your day-to-day living? On the way you treat yourself?
There is a danger that people fall into, and that is we try to make Jesus in our own image and likeness. The crusaders of the twelfth century tried to make him into a warrior who delighted in the slaughter of Muslims. The Ku Klux Klan has tried to make him into a middle-class white American. Catholics have tried to make Jesus Catholic, and Protestants have tried to make Him Protestant. Many of us have been guilty in one way or another, trying to make Christ in our own image. We want him to be like us. We want Jesus to be the kind of Savior that we want.
Sometimes we fail to realize that we do not call Jesus. He called us to follow Him. Yes, He has called you, not only priests and religious, but you: the ones sitting in the church pew, or at home watching Mass online. Your basic call was your baptism. It was there that you first turned to the Lord. It was His cross that was signed on your forehead. Because of your baptism, you are a disciple of Christ.
The question we all must ask ourselves is, “Are we living it?” Christ is here with us, and someday He will come in power and glory to place all creation at the feet of the Father. But today, He comes quietly, subtly, invisibly, wherever you are looking for Him in the preached word.
In the host at communion time, look for Him inside you. Look for Him at home, on the faces of your dear ones. But look for Him, especially, where He told you to look.
In the hungry and thirsty, the stranger and the naked, the sick, the imprisoned and drug addicted. I would ask you to think about this, wherever you go in life; where you work, where you play and pray; where you live or go to school.
If anyone there is looking for Christ, will they find Him in you or do they have to look for another? And If Jesus were to ask you, “Who do you say that I am?” What would your answer be?