Working with the Word
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: Who do the crowds say that I am, Who do you say that I am, The Christ of God, must suffer ... be rejected ... be killed . . . be raised, If anyone wishes to come after me
To the point: What the disciples answer as the general perception about who Jesus is—John, Elijah, a prophet—is in sharp contrast to Peter’s confession of Jesus as “The Christ of God.” What Peter doesn’t know at this point, however, is that the Messiah is One who must suffer, be rejected, be killed, and be raised up. What Peter also doesn’t know is that Jesus’ revelation about his identity is a direct challenge to the identity of the disciples: to follow Jesus is to deny oneself and take up the cross daily. The dare of the gospel is that to answer who Jesus is, is to answer who his followers are. How do we answer who Jesus is?
Connecting the Gospel …
... to the first reading: Zechariah prophesied that the “house of David” would look upon one whom “they have pierced” and would “mourn for him as one mourns for an only son.” Prophets of old made clear that the Messiah would be one who would suffer and die. The people did not listen. Do we?
... to experience: How many of us seeking to make our mark in life would ex- pect that we find our place in the world only by giving up our life? Yet this is the only way disciples of Jesus become who they are and make a difference.
**From Saint Louis University