Today we celebrate the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel story is a familiar one. Jesus questions the disciples, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” After they answer, he asks them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “The Christ of God.” The term Christ is a Greek title which means “the anointed one.” Its counterpart in Hebrew is Messiah. Peter gives the correct answer to the question Jesus asks, but instead of affirming him, Jesus rebukes the disciples. He directs them “not to tell anyone.” We may wonder why Jesus does this. Why does he want them to keep quiet about the truth? First of all, Peter does not understand the full meaning of what he stated. The Jewish people were living in expectation of a messiah. However, the definitions and expectations of the messiah varied widely. Some envisioned a military leader; others envisioned a spiritual teacher. Their understanding was that the messiah would be the chosen one to represent God and would accomplish his work on earth. In the minds of some, this would be done by military force. So, the second point to be made is that Jesus envisions a different scenario; he knows he is the chosen one of God, and he understands his mission from God. As he explains that the Son of Man will suffer greatly, be rejected, killed and raised on the third day, he realizes that his disciples are not yet ready to hear, let alone grasp this concept. So Jesus tells them “not to tell anyone.” We, ourselves, who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of Man and the Son of God, sometimes have a difficult time understanding what Jesus was trying to convey to his disciples. Jesus went on to say to them, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Now, the disciples had the whole truth presented to them, but until they really accepted and understood it, they could not relate it to others. They could not yet preach or evangelize. Sometimes we try to talk about things when we only have half of the truth, when we don’t have the whole picture, or when we refuse to accept the whole truth. Most times, when we do that, the effect is unpleasant; people get upset and react, take sides, reject others, tell lies about others, and sometimes we get rid of them in one way or another. We see this happen often in our workplaces, in our schools, in our neighborhoods, and in our nation. Jesus wanted to make sure his disciples spoke the truth about him (who he really is), his message, and God’s plan for the world. He knew that, rather than react, the disciples needed time to understand completely the answer to the question: “Who do you say that I am?” As Catholic Christians, we, too, need to have a clear understanding of who Jesus is, what it means to be his followers, and what it means to be Church, his body in this world. We must always speak the truth, whatever the cost.
This Sunday is Father’s Day! It is the day on which we honor and express our appreciation to our fathers in a special way. We pray for God’s blessings upon our fathers and grandfathers, and upon all those who serve in the role of father: God-fathers, step-fathers, foster fathers, adopted fathers, and spiritual fathers. Happy Father’s Day to all of you! We also remember our fathers who have gone before us in faith. We thank God for the gift of their life and for the gifts of life and love they have given to us. Let us express our gratitude for them today for the wisdom and the faith they have passed on to us – and for the difference they have made in our lives!
Thank you to all who continue to support CSA 216! We are doing very well thus far in meeting our assessment this year! Pledges are continuing to be made. Please see the update in today’s bulletin. Thank you once again for your generosity!
As I mentioned in the announcements last Sunday, sample colors and sizes of the Saint John Paul II t-shirts are in the main entrance of church. Last weekend we had three of the colors on display; this weekend we will have all five of them. The design of the t-shirt is on the bulletin board in each church entrance and is printed in today’s bulletin. Order forms will be next week.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ