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Who do you say that I am?

Mt. 16:13-20

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and

he asked his disciples,

"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,

still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter said in reply,

"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus said to him in reply,

"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.

For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

And so I say to you, you are Peter,

and upon this rock I will build my church,

and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;

and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Then he strictly ordered his disciples

to tell no one that he was the Christ.

The one time that I was able to go to the March for Life, I remember the youth rally at the basketball stadium. The Christian music was loud and boisterous. I remember that the band's name was the "Who do you say that I am band." I remember thinking that it was a good name for a Christian band.

The question is one of the most important ones that we have during our human existence. This is not the case only for Christians and Catholics. As human beings, the birth of Jesus Christ is a watershed moment in the history of the world. It marks a "before" and "after," as witnessed through our use of "B.C." and "A.D."

If you follow at all the topic of the Shroud of Turin, you will see that there is much debate about who the man of the Shroud is. Many, looking at the evidence, would argue that it is the burial shroud of Christ himself. It would seem that the Resurrection event emanated so much radiation that his image was produced miraculously on the cloth. But the question remains: "who is the man of the Shroud?"

For us, Christ asks us a simple question: "who do you say that I am?" This is a question that should echo in the depths of our soul. How are we going to respond. How do others answer this question?

Especially in the last century, there has been a rise of seeing Jesus as a liberator. This comes in the wake of a Marxist version of Liberation Theology. In an interpretation of history that sees everything in a sense of oppressor-oppressed, Jesus is made out to be a leader who helps to inspire a revolution. This theory has led to bloody conflicts, especially in Latin America.

Others want to see Jesus as a "nice guy." He would never condemn or criticize. He just wants people to be happy and would never ask them to make different life decisions. This could almost be a "woke Jesus." This is also problematic. There is no Biblical foundation for such a view of Jesus.

Finally, we can look at Jesus Christ for who he is. He is the Savior of the World. Being the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, he became man. He suffered and died on the Cross to redeem us from our sins.

I maintain that this very Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels is an historically sensible and convincing figure. His crucifixion and the impact that he had can only be explained if something extraordinary happened, if the figure and the words of Jesus radically exceeded the hopes and expectations of his time.
Around twenty years after the death of Jesus, we find already in the great hymn to Christ in the Letter to the Philippians (2:6-8) the full expression of a Christology, in which it is said of Jesus that He was equal to God but stripped Himself, became man, and humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross, and that to Him is due the homage of creation, the adoration that in the prophet Isaiah (45:23) God proclaimed as due to Himself alone. (Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth)

Jesus is asking you today to respond to him. Who is Jesus Christ for you?

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