This Sunday’s readings present us with a look at the theological virtue of faith. Faith requires action, a lifestyle, a habit of being, works. Confessing “I have faith in Christ” means I act in a certain way, that I always seek out Jesus in every moment of my daily life. And that I am never ashamed to proclaim Jesus as the Christ.
Perhaps this is one way that we can look at St. Peter’s confession of who Jesus is in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus is traveling with his disciples to Caesarea Philippi and along the way asks the question, “Who do people say that I am?” Now Jesus is God, the Incarnate Second person of the Trinity, does he really need to ask this question? He knows everything. Yet, he still asks.
Christ is the most popular guy around the Sea of Galilee at this point. He’s attracting attention, teaching people new and exciting things, and performing miracles. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with him? So, the word on the street is that Jesus is “John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the prophets.” Still, why ask? Christ puts this question to his disciples as a test to see if any one sees him with the eyes of faith, is someone in this crowd following Him for a reason other than the flash and popularity that is generated because, “I’m friends with a celebrity.”
Jesus then singles out St. Peter and in front of the whole crowd of disciples says, “But who do you say that I am?” I don’t know about you but I would crumble. At the very least I would have a hard time getting out an answer. But, St. Peter because when he gets it right he knocks it out of the park. He replies, “You are the Christ.” Christ means “anointed.” Only three types of people were anointed in the Old Testament, priests, prophets and Kings. Peter is saying Jesus is the Anointed One, the Messiah. You, Jesus of Nazareth are the priest, the prophet, and the king we, the Jewish people, have been waiting for to save us.
Can you imagine what the rest of the disciples would have said after hearing Peter’s confession? “who is this guy? What does he see that some of us do not?” It is Peter’s faith in who Jesus is that allows him to make this bold profession. Jesus asks him because he knows that Peter will be the one to boldly lead the rest of the disciples and Apostles after the Resurrection. After Pentecost Peter will become a fearless defender of the Name of Jesus and will spear head the Christian revolution throughout Judea. Peter by confessing Christ as the Anointed One fully hand over his life to Christ and trusts Jesus, and walks with Him every day until his martyrdom in the circus of Nero.
What about you and me? We are blessed to have received the virtue of faith in Baptism, but sometimes we fall short don’t we? Think about those moments in life where we are faced with the chance to do something good, perform a corporal work of mercy, an act of charity, or better confess that the we love Jesus and believe that he is the Anointed King of our lives, and stumble. I know I have fallen short and continue to fall short. Occasionally I tell Jesus I love him because I want him to work a great miracle or fix all my problems because I know he can. Do something cool for me Jesus. Then there are times, I hear Jesus asking me, “Who do you say that I am Chris? Are you embarrassed to tell your friends about me? Why do you forget about me sometimes? Do something cool for me Chris? Let me be King of your life?”
Every day there are moments that Christ is calling upon you to answer the question, “Who do you say that I am?” How will you answer him?