Who Do You Say That I Am?


When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 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” (Matt. 16:13-20).

Today’s Gospel is one of my favorite ones as it is the one I used for my religious profession some thirty-three years ago.  I remember that special day as if it were yesterday.  It is forever emblazoned in my heart and mind.  Many of the special people who were there are no longer with us and are in Heaven. 

In this Gospel Jesus asks his followers, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?  Their response is what would seem obvious as the opinions varied some 2000 years ago.  Then Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter’s response describes the full truth of who Jesus is.  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Peter’s courageous confession acknowledges Jesus as Christ, and in hearing it Christ declares his Church with Peter as its foundation. Peter’s life-giving profession begins a web of connection for all of us.  Jesus’ question was one that I reflected on often in my religious formation.  Being a follower of Jesus I have been stretched and have grown in my love for Jesus over these years.  May we always seek to see Jesus and understand His great love for us.  May we always be able to answer like Peter the questions:  Who do you say that I am? May we do this with faith and hope in the living Christ as He continues to guide and stretch us.