Scripture: Lectionary 453. Sept.28. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11. Psalm 1444:1-2.3-4. Luke 9:18-22:
Prayer is very important in our lives. It helps us carry our cross with Jesus and gives us courage to not give up on ourselves when we feel burdened or stressed out. Jesus himself prayed and if we follow Luke’s Gospel we see that he prayed often. This is not as evident in Matthew and Mark. John, however, has the extended prayer of Jesus in chapter 17. Today we have one short phrase in the Gospel that says, “Jesus was praying in seclusion and his disciples were with him.”
Some of them probably were waiting impatiently for him to finish praying so that they could get on with their work. We often are like them. Unlike Jesus we do not realize that union with God through deep prayer will make our work more efficient and noble in God’s sight.
Prayer helps us to see that we are not alone in the hours that pass by during the day. God is with us in our doings and helps us to do them with greater attention and enthusiasm. Without such prayerful motivation we usually can pass through a boring, tiring, or just a
rough unpleasant day. Prayer lightens up the day and enlightens us how to handle the difficulties that come our way.
Jesus now asks them an important question after having prayed. He is preparing them for how they are to see who he is for them and what his plan and mission is. “Who do you say I am?” We can imagine several of them chiming in. One says, you are according to some another John the Baptist. Then a second disciple pipes up and says you are the prophet Elijah. A couple of them blurt out—you are one of the prophets. Peter has seen Jesus at prayer and probably joined in his prayer for he has the right response, “You are the Messiah of God.”
Jesus then clarifies what that really means. Peter was on the right track. Jesus is the Messiah or Anointed One of God, but not like they imagine him to be. He is not a royal messianic person but rather the Suffering Servant and Messiah of God. He has opened the response of Peter and clarified what it means to be the Messiah and how he is going to fulfill his role as a Suffering Servant. He tells them, “The Son of Man, that is, I Jesus, am going to first endure many sufferings, then be rejected by the elders, the high priests and the scribes, and be put to death, and then be raised up on the third day.”
Who do I say Jesus is? Who do you say he is? The proper response will come to you and me after we spend some time in seclusion praying. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.