For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061916.cfm
I suspect at one time or another most of us have been put in that uncomfortable position when someone asks us what people think of them or what people are saying about them. These moments are awkward at best, particularly because most of the time the people asking the question suspect that something is amiss. In our Gospel today Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” I suspect the disciples were more than happy to fill Jesus in on the local gossip, particularly since it reflected well on him. “They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’” Jesus, though, was not satisfied in knowing what others thought of him. In fact, His next question was very personal. “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied: “The Christ of God.” Jesus then went on to tell them that he must suffer greatly and be killed. He then told his disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Jesus was clear with his disciples. It is not enough to know what others are saying about him. We are called to know Jesus in our own life. As importantly, Jesus reminds us that the cross is not an optional part of following him.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah. It is a foreshadowing of Christ’s death. “and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.” It reminds us that Christ’s life, death and resurrection was part of God’s plan from the beginning of time.
We continue to read from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians for our second reading this Sunday. It reminds us that there are no distinctions or degrees among the followers of Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- If Jesus were to ask you “Who do you say that I am?” how would you respond?
- Luke is the only evangelist who includes the word “daily” to Jesus admonition to take up your cross and follow him. Why do you think this is?
- Have you ever heard someone try to make distinctions among the followers of Christ?