Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 9:1-13; Mark 8:27-33)
“’Who do you say that I am?’” Jesus asks his disciples in today’s gospel. We should make the question our own. In our own way of thinking, who is Jesus? Some may answer, “One of the great men of history.” Surely as far as the answer goes, that is correct. In fact, it may be shown that no other human has had the impact that Jesus of Nazareth has had. But he is still being defined as a human being.
Peter’s answer to Jesus query does not really admit more than that. Peter understands Jesus as “the Christ,” which is to say that he is like David and the other kings of Israel. With this idea in mind Peter sees Jesus as cleansing Israel of Roman rule and being installed as king in Jerusalem. But he is still far from all that may be said to disclose Jesus’ identity.
It took almost three hundred years for the Church to come to an adequate conception of who Jesus is. He is God, one of the Blessed Trinity. This distinction is a mystery that we cannot really understand. But it does reveal that he is the Creator and Lord of all. It also calls us to worship him. Finally, as his followers, it assures us of safety and well-being.