June 19, 2010


12th Sunday - C (June 20, 2010)
Luke 9:18-24

Does the Messiah Still Matter?

In response to Jesus' question "Who do the crowds say that I am?" the disciples have an answer. Earlier, Jesus sent them out to preach and to heal (9:2). Moreover, they have been following Jesus, and heard the people's reaction about this powerful prophet.

The people of Israel have been waiting for the Messiah for generations now. Their history of slavery and exile, and their current status of being an occupied nation give them a hunger for God to free them (even if it is just on a worldly and political level). They have been told that a prophet will come to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:18 and Malachi 3:1).

More significantly, their longing for the Messiah expresses their faith in God, in God's promise to their ancestors, and the importance of God in their lives.

And so, though they have not yet fully understood who Jesus is, he might be for them at least the promised messenger who prepares the way. And that means their freedom is near.

The disciples share with their fellow Israelites the longing for the Messiah. They, however, are ahead of the people in their recognition of Jesus "not just any Christ" but "the Christ of God."[1]

Jesus still has much to teach them of what it means for him to be the Christ of God, and for them to "come after" him. [2] Nevertheless, they are on the right track.

The prerequisite of discipleship is faith. The prerequisite of faith is a longing for God. And the prerequisite of this longing is an real awareness of our situation and of God's power.

Where am I on this journey?

[1] Francis J. Moloney, SDB. The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections on the Gospel Readings, Year C. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1991; p. 138.
[2] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina Series, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991, p. 154.

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