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Keep us in your love

St. Paul offers us an understanding of our faith heritage. When we are baptised, we are clothed in Christ. We are recreated as members of the body of Christ. In this, St. Paul tells us, there are no distinctions, we are all equal and, therefore, we are all one in Christ. In this faith we are children of God.

The decision to be baptised and become a member of the body of Christ was for many made our parents, out of their faith, hope and love. But as we grew, we have the chance to develop our own sense of what it means to be Christian.

We no longer have a child-like faith. As we have developed physically and learned how to deal with our life situations, so too we should to grow in our understanding of what it is to be an adolescent, and then an adult Christian.

God has been good to us in that we have a treasure trove of knowledge to tap into to help us in our development. Not the least of this treasure is the word of God in the scriptures, in the teaching of the Church, and examples from the lives of the saints, as well as the traditions with which we have become familiar.

So this week’s gospel reading challenges us to relate the gospel to our own lives.

Christs’ question to Peter becomes his question to each of us, as individuals, as well as his community (body)—“but you, who do you say I am?”

Peter, of course, jumps in with both feet and pronounces that Jesus is “…. the Christ of God!” Peter was fortunate enough to have an extremely close personal relationship with Jesus.

He had seen Jesus’ works of faith and healing, had been with him at prayer, and had listened to his preaching. Jesus
also spent quite a bit of time explaining in depth what he had been teaching.

Peter carried an expectation that was quite different to the outcome of Jesus’ life, suffering, and death. This expectation remained with him, even after Jesus explained his destiny and the challenges that those who followed him were to face. Their acceptance of Jesus would mean hardship and, eventually, suffering and death. But they had faith in Jesus.

For us it is not so different. The gospel passage ends with Jesus explaining that to be his followers, we need to renounce ourselves and take up our cross every day. This means that life is not necessarily going to be easy.

We are called to die to sin, we are called to think of others and, if necessary, give up what we may want and give to others, living with denial of self for the sake of others.

 

Can we sit in prayer and listen to God and then answer Jesus’ question and, in a fully adult way, profess our faith and our willingness to take up our cross and follow him?