Today’s Gospel: Matthew 16, 13-23 – St. John Vianney
Good teachers have good answers, but extraordinary teachers ask great questions. There is no greater teacher than Jesus Christ, and it’s evident from the four Gospels that Jesus asked many simple, yet profound questions that continue to challenge, inspire and resound within the human heart. In fact, throughout the four Gospels, Jesus asks well over one hundred questions.
It is one thing to reveal the answer to a question to a person and quite another to allow that person to wrestle with the question themselves so they arrive at their own conclusions. Questions have the ability to define our task, interpret and give meaning to information as well as examine some of our pre-conceived notions. Jesus was a master at asking these type of questions.
In today’s scripture passage, Jesus turns to his disciples and asks two questions. The first is: Who do people say that the Son of Man is? The second is: But who do you say that I am? Saint John Paul II reminds us that Catholics don’t impose their faith, but rather propose who Jesus Christ is. In proposing these two questions of Jesus to others, we can continue the Church’s mission of evangelization and begin to engage people by way of asking good questions rather than just giving our opinions or telling them what we believe.
Simon Peter answers Jesus’ direct question by stating that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. While Peter’s lips reveal the correct answer we read a few verses later that his thinking is not in line with God’s plan. For St. Peter and for us there is no instant discipleship, no instant path to holiness. It is a life-long process where we develop the “mind of Christ” and then put those thoughts into action.
How might you discern if your thinking is in line with God’s way of viewing the world, yourself and others?
Lord Jesus, may my thoughts be in line with your thoughts and may the words of my lips reflect Your love in my heart. Amen
Copyright 2016 Allan F. Wright
Allan F. Wright is a husband, father of four, and the Academic Dean for Evangelization at St. Paul Inside the Walls in the Diocese of Paterson, NJ. He is the author of seven books, volunteers his time teaching scripture to the Missionaries of Charity (Contemplative), and is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. (www.allanwright.org)