Thursday, June 20, 2013

"But who do you say that I am?"

In this Sunday's Gospel story, June 23, 2013, Jesus asks a simple question. “Who do the crowds say that I Am?” All volunteer an answer, because describing other people’s opinions requires no personal commitment whatsoever. But then Jesus asks them a tougher question: “Who do YOU say that I am?” Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study sessions with your family, friends and church groups.

This story is clearly divided into three sections: the first, where Peter answers the question, "Who do you say that I am?" with the reply "The Christ of God." The second section is a prediction of the passion, "The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously." And the third is the news that those who want to follow Christ must take up their own Cross. From this moment onward in the Gospel, Jesus is on his way to Golgotha and the cross.

"Who do you say I am?"

Jesus' question had as much relevancy down the centuries as it did when it was first asked in the northeast corner of Palestine. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB explains how the replies of the disciples are varied, as are those of each of us today when Jesus, through someone else's lips, asks us the same question, and with increasing frequency and intensity.

In fact, each Christian of every age must give an answer. As Fr. James Gilhooley suggests, we must decide whether we are His disciples or just His fans. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino agrees that it is indeed serious business being a Christian. The enemy is the egocentricity of a world that thinks it does not need God. We must determine who Jesus is for us is, This, according to Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS, is the question and the work of a lifetime. It is the only question that matters.

"The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously."

Notice that this statement echoes the First Reading for Sunday, written five hundred years before Christ. It describes a day of mourning because of “him whom they have pierced.” Fr. John Foley, S. J. says this text portrays Jesus’ divinity perfectly, one who would descend straight into our suffering and would stay with us all the way, not turning back, not forgetting to love us. Jesus tells us he must suffer and die - he must give his blood for us. Today it is in the celebration of the Mass, Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us, that we enter that mystery and receive the remedy for our sins.

As this gospel story ends, Jesus throws the disciples a curve ball. He strictly forbade them to tell this to anyone.” Why? Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains in "The Messianic Secret and the Cross."

We must take up our own Cross

Fr. Alex McAllister SDS points out that many regard Christ as the only person who ever lived who is really worth following - that is except for this teaching on suffering and the Cross. Unfortunately the Cross is not only part of the central message of Christianity. Accepting the Cross is its central requirement.

The litmus-test for Christian orthodoxy, Fr. Ron Rolheiser tells us, is not the Creed. Can you take in bitterness, curses, hatred, and murder itself, and give back graciousness, blessing, love, understanding, and forgiveness? That is the root invitation inside of Christianity. Being Christian doesn’t cause our human differences to disappear and vanish. Fr. Charles Irvin says it is the sharing in all of Christ’s Sacraments that makes our differences irrelevant when it comes to living together in the life of God given us in Jesus Christ.

The Church now proclaims the good news that the Risen Son of Man and Messiah is present among us to create us anew in His own image. We learn what that means in the unique circumstances of our lives through the life and teaching of Jesus. By doing so, Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B. preaches, we will be able to help fix the corruption and lawlessness that fills the earth, rather than adding to it. It is the very same message that Bretton DeLaria, a Junior at Saint Louis University, saw in the Readings. He was thirsting for Him, for that spiritual food that would reach the depths of his soul and fill that thirst for Christ Jesus.

Fathers Day was June 16

Sunday, June 16, was Fathers Day. And it invited us to ask a very important spiritual question – what does it mean to call God “Father?” Also, please do take a moment to share this special video message with the Godly Dads in your life as a reminder of what a blessing they are to us.

In another video, country music singer Kenny Rogers has a song called “Water and Bridges,” which highlights a father's pain after losing a child to abortion. Rogers said the song is not about him, but is "really about choices you make when you're young that you pay for when you're old." Plus, Fr. John Flynn, LC reflects on the growing number of children today are in the dark about the identity of their biological father. A recent report looked into Anonymous Parenthood - The Consequences of Sperm Donation.

This celebration of FAthers Day was quite timely specially when you read this report from a Catholic group that says popular primetime television shows engage audiences daily for an hour. This is longer than the average child gets to spend with his parents. On average, parents spend only 49 minutes with their children every day.

Bo Sanchez reflects fondly on his relationship with his father. "Hug Someone Today While There's Still Time" is his story and it is very timely for all of us today. And finally, we bring back "I Can Only Imagine," one of those truly remarkable stories. Make sure you watch the video at the end. This gripping story of love will remain in your consciousness for a very long time.

Another eventful week in our Catholic world. A blessed and happy Fathers Day to all dads.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

BURNING QUESTION: Is Jesus & God the same?
FEATURED BLOG: Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet
PASTORAL HISPANA: Quien dice la gente que soy yo? 
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