Homily for Friday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time
Over the last couple of days now, we have been reading through Luke 9. Throughout that chapter so far, the author of Luke has been revealing to us more about Jesus. You might recall, on Wednesday the Lord gave his disciples the mission to go out and proclaim the Kingdom, to drive out demons, and to tell others about the miracles that Jesus had performed. Yesterday, we heard about Herod and the people of Galilee hearing about all of these things that were happening and wondering exactly who Jesus was. Today, we get a glimpse into what the disciples thought about all of it.
Now, there is one interesting thing that should be mentioned at this point. Today’s Gospel passage is not a consecutive passage from yesterday. Instead, the lectionary skips 8 verses. In those verses, we read about the return of the disciples from their mission. Jesus then takes them on a private retreat which is interrupted by the crowds. But it also contains the feeding of the 5,000.
After all of that, Jesus poses these questions about his identity to his disciples to see, I think, where their hearts were and to determine if they had come to belief in Him after everything they had seen and done. And that’s the same question that He asks of us today. After everything that we have experienced in our lives, after all the encounters we have had with the Lord, do we truly believe – I mean, at the very core of who we are – do we TRULY believe that He is the Son of God?
I think each of us struggles with that in some way. Because if we truly believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior of the World, then nothing could take His place in our hearts. Yet, many of us still seek to fill the voids in our hearts with things besides Christ, a void that only Christ can fill. We find difficulty in trusting the Lord. We find it challenging to let go of control and let the Lord have total access to our hearts. But Jesus also knew that would be our constant struggle. And that’s exactly why He had to die on the cross for us and rise from the dead. Doing the impossible was going to be the only way to move our hearts. And He reminds us of that again. Today, the Lord asks us: who do you say that I am? May we always ask for the grace to answer like Peter and say: “Jesus, you are the Christ of God.”