The Gospel for today’s Mass comes from St Luke and it recounts the occasion on which the Lord asks the Disciples who people say He is. Once they give Him the opinions of others, He then asks the question He was leading up to –
“But you, who do you say I am?”
St Peter answers that the Lord is “the Christ of God”.
The Lord then reminds the Disciples what it means to follow this Christ of God; it means to suffer along with Him, to carry our own crosses in union with His, offering our sufferings in the way that St Paul will later describe as ‘making up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His Body, the Church’. Unless we share Calvary with Him, we cannot share the joy of the Resurrection.
That can sound ominous and make us tremble. But along with the Gospel today, the Alleluia reminded us that Christ is the Light of the World, that those who follow Him will have the light of life.
Over time, the Disciples developed their awareness of who and what the Lord was; this was a gradual process and it wold cost them dearly, even to the giving of their lives in the coming years. To be able to do so, they required the grace of God and this had to build on a deep personal relationship with the Person of Jesus; not just an abiding friendship with the Man they had spent so much time with, but something much, much deeper – a belief in the Person of Jesus as being truly ‘the Christ of God’.
And like the Disciples we, too, are called to give answer to this question of the Lord – who do we say He is? What is our relationship with Him? On what is it based? What does it really mean to us? How far will we go for Him?
Today’s Psalm is one of the most beautiful one’s ever written – it is Psalm 62, the cry of the soul, longing for God –
‘O God, You are my God, for You I long
for You my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for You
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on You in the Sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory’.
Beautiful as it is, in the context of the Gospel today, perhaps the Psalmist has captured something of the mark of the soul who truly believes that the Lord is ‘the Christ of God’.