Thursday, 18th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus’ question to his disciples in today’s gospel is also addressed to us: “Who do you say that I am?” Let me put it in a more personal way: “Who is Jesus to me?” This is a great question, the most important one, because this really is the defining question of life… because how I answer this question will define my life. Let me put it this way…
Who Jesus is to me shows what salvation means to me. If Jesus is the Christ or Messiah, then I must allow him to save me from everything that enslaves me: selfishness, attachments, addictions, sinfulness. I must allow him to free me from myself to be able to follow him faithfully.
Who Jesus is to me must establish my identity and my mission. If Jesus is my idol and model, then I should strive to be Christ-like and to become Christ’s mission partner. I should commit my life to bringing the Good News and becoming good news to others – especially to the poor, the needy, the helpless.
Who Jesus is to me must determine how I live my life. If Jesus is my Lord and Master, then I must imitate his way of life – of self-denial, of self-giving, of selfless love. My life, like his, must be defined in these words: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Who Jesus is to me must form my values and priorities in life. If Jesus is my teacher and guide, then I must take to heart what he is telling me: “Seek first the kingdom of God” – and not my own ‘kingdom’ of wealth, power, and prestige. The gospel values should guide how I use my time, how I employ my talents, how I spend my money.
Who Jesus is to me must shape my attitude toward material goods. If I take seriously Jesus’ teaching and warning that I will have to render an account of everything that God entrusted to me, then I must live by the basic principles of stewardship: God owns everything, I own nothing. I must always be grateful for all God’s gifts. I must use these blessings wisely and responsibly. And I must return them to God with increase by generously sharing them out of justice and love.
Who is Jesus to you?