Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Today’s Gospel, Matthew 16:13-20, recalls an important conversation between Jesus and the disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi.

When Jesus and his disciples went into that region, he wanted to know what his disciples knew about him. So Jesus asked: “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” (Mt 16: 14). Jesus accepted that answer, but immediately pressed the issue with those around him. He wanted to know what his disciples had in their minds and hearts about him. He asked: “But who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16: 15)

Peter was the first disciple to confess: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter but God the Father. Jesus then conferred on Peter the authority to govern the church that He would build, the church that no power on earth can prevail against it. Jesus plays on Peter's name which is the same word for "rock" in both Aramaic and Greek. To call someone a "rock" is one of the greatest compliments. Through divine revelation, Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and the only begotten Son of God.

Like in the past when our Lord Jesus challenged his disciples on their knowledge about Him, He is asking each of us personally with the same question: Who do you say that I am?

Each of us without hesitation can say that Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is our savior, Jesus is our Lord and God, Jesus is God and man. There is no wrong in our answers. However, where are these answers coming from? From our heart or our mind? Do we just get those answers from the common knowledge out there? Or are these answers rooted in our whole being with deep and strong faith?

When we profess that Jesus is our Lord and God, do we truly mean it? Do we believe what we say? Moreover, how is our relationship with Him? Is He the one we trust and love? Do we embrace and live out His teachings? Do we want always to be with Him? Are we His believers?

Once again, we ask ourselves: Who is Jesus to me?

Fr. Phi Nguyen

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