September 12, 2015
24th Sunday - B
Having the Right Answer. Is It Enough?
The Gospel readings selected for the previous two Sundays prepared us for today's passage.
Two weeks ago, Mark portrayed Jesus as the great preacher. He outsmarted the Pharisees and scribes who questioned him.
Last week, Mark showed us Jesus' power in his miracles. The witnesses acclaimed, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
By human standards, Jesus is now at the height of his success and popularity.
This explains why people think he might be John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets.
Then the location where Jesus asks his disciples the question of who he is adds another twist to the conversation. This conversation takes place while they are on their way to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. The city was built by the ruler of the area to be his capital. He named it after Caesar Augustus, his political patron. But there was another city already named Caesarea. So to distinguish his new city, the ruler added a second name to it. And the ruler's name happened to be Philip. He in fact named the city after himself.
In the vicinity of this city of worldly political power and alliance, Jesus asks the disciples if they know who he is. Peter knows Jesus' title, “You are the Christ.” Yet, Peter does not understand what that means.
What is my answer if Jesus asks me today, “Who do you say that I am?” And do I know what my answer means? And am I ready for it?