18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19 And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” 20 Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” 21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Praying Alone: (Eternal truth)
Jesus was praying alone. Prayer engages a deep self- talk with the divine. Prayer enables us to imagine and act out the will of God. Jesus was grounded in the will of God, and He was actively involved in a context. The context posed many challenges to the common people and Jesus our Saviour addressed the issues of common people specially the suffering masses. Time with God, helps us to have clarity over the many issues that haunt the human celebration. Today's text invites us to have our personal time with God and to discern God’s will for us to be his perfect tool. In one way we can say that through prayer we can understand an appropriate opinion of God which intersects both the subjective and objective phenomenon in life. Prayer helps us to understand GOD’s opinion of us and others. Knowing God’s will is nothing but knowing the truth in the eternal sense.
Public Opinion. (Objective understanding)
“Who do the Crowds say that I am?” seems to be an essential question of Jesus to his own disciples. He wanted them to be analytical as well as informed about the public opinion. Jesus wanted his disciples to be aware of the perspectives around them, however they were so profound in them. Their comments were self-explanatory that people were limited only with the past history of events and the struggle to understand the living truth (Jesus). They were occupied by their residues (it’s quite natural). Their legacy about the past leadership blinded them to see the Son of God who was with them. In any given society, public opinion plays an important role because it influences the wheels of daily life. We need to be aware of the objective understanding of the truth. People get confused because of various influences.
Proclamation of truth: (Subjective understanding)
“But who do you say that I am?”. Jesus wanted to know about the understanding of his own disciples. Peter, I feel as a representation of the whole team, acknowledged Jesus as Christ
meaning that the path of Jesus was the true salvific way. Jesus embraced the negative powers with a positive call to repent. He wanted everyone to live a life with God, i.e., life in truth, justice, liberty, equality, love and joy. So, acknowledging Jesus doesn’t mean, doing it just by words but through deeds of liberation. Accepting Jesus as Christ envisages one to commit to a new way of life...to face life with all openness and courage. Deep faith in God necessitates us to move forward to proclaim the truth in the context of numerous perils and deludes the partial opinions of truth. We need to know the truth, otherwise we cannot unfold the manifold blessings of God to those who suffer.
Questions to Ponder?
1. We are considered to be “the body of Christ” - Church. What do people in general (public opinion) say about the church today? I wish we could commence reflecting it from our own families.
2. What is our subjective understanding of Christ?
3. In what ways can we communicate Christ or the path of Christ in today’s world?
Have a blessed reflection! Amen