I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him. –Napoleon: (1769-1821: was a French military leader and emperor who conquered much of Europe in the early 19th century)
Gospel Text: (MK 8:27-33)
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 Christ."
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them
that the Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed, and rise after three days.
He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples,
rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
Asking the right question is extremely important in many situations and in major events that we face in life. It’s also important to ask the right type of question. For instance, there are questions that begin with “How?” and there are questions that begin with “Why?” “How?” questions call for answers that deal with technique – they call for technological answers. “Why?” questions deal with meaning – they call for deeper answers.
We find Jesus Christ in today’s Gospel account asking his disciples to tell Him who they think He really is.
Jesus had two reasons for asking His question. One was to have His disciples give some serious thought to just who they thought they were following. The other was to take the opportunity to teach them about what was going to happen to Him. In other words, where was He going? Where they would end up if they kept following Him?
Is Jesus an interesting historical figure? A nice guy among a lot of other nice guys who have started religions? Is He, as the Muslims say, a great prophet? Is he one among many in a long line of Jewish rabbis?
Or is Christ Jesus God in the Flesh, in order that we can see Him, know Him, and love Him as one of us? Christ Jesus is God among us making Himself available to us. Christ Jesus is God the Son, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, made incarnate, made human flesh and blood for us.