Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Many of us are burdened by the insecurity that accompanies self-doubt and the desire to be known by others for who we truly are, rather than by what they perceive. In today’s Gospel there is a lovely interplay between Peter’s name (which means stone or rock) and the confession he makes regarding Jesus. Immediately upon confessing Jesus’s true identity, Peter himself receives a new name, a new identity. The wisdom here for us is that Simon finds his truest self, his identity, in the measure that he acknowledges Jesus as he truly is, as the Son of the living God. In an age of reinvention and auto-determination, we may consider giving Jesus the final word on who we are, allowing him to name us according to who he sees us to be. In the end, it may change the course of your life, as it did for Peter, whose life was never the same.
—Deacon David A. Lugo, SJ, is a transitional deacon of the Central and Southern Province who was ordained to the priesthood on August 15th in St. Louis, MO. He studies theology at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, Spain.
Lord Jesus, you know us even better than we know ourselves. Help us to come to fully understand and embrace our truest identity as your beloved sisters and brothers, so that we may move through life in the confidence of knowing we belong to you. Amen.
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