To all our parishioners and dear friends of our parish community…Praised be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!
Throughout this month of September, classes resume for all our students, teachers, and academic administrators. Our St. John School is open and running full steam ahead for another school year.
The St. John Church Religious Education classes will begin this Sunday, September 13th at 9:00 AM in the school. We pray for all our students in the school and in C.C.D. religious education classes, that they may be open to learning more about Jesus.
Today’s Sunday Gospel begins with Jesus desiring to know who the people he has been teaching think He is. In response, the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus describe speculations about Jesus’ identity and recount that it is perhaps John the Baptist who has been raised up. Jesus, of course, the Great Teacher, desires to know more than just what others are saying about Him. He asks the question, “But who do YOU say that I am?”
A second time, He personalizes it, asking the Disciples directly for their own answer. St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, steps forward, offering a statement of deep faith, identifying Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ. The perfect answer that Jesus, the Teacher, wishes to hear! Jesus continues to teach about His identity and also about the requirements of true Discipleship.
The first prediction of the Passion of the Christ marks the beginning of the first of three instructions on Christology and discipleship explaining Jesus’ identity as the Messianic Son of Man who must suffer, die, and rise. Jesus, the Suffering Messiah, does not seek out His suffering; rather, it is inevitable because of His person, teaching, and actions. Although St. Peter confesses Jesus’ identity correctly, now he fails to understand its meaning, staunchly disputing Jesus’ prediction of His sacred Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
At the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus shows the disciples that following the Son of Man will not only entail changing their expectations of the Messiah, but also changing their hearts and human ways of thinking. Just as Jesus, the Messiah, must suffer, die, and rise, so too those who follow Him must take up their cross, accepting suffering when it comes their way, in order to save their life.
From this point forward we can all say we know the extent of what is expected of us who freely choose to follow Jesus, even though we, like St. Peter, might sometimes not like all of what we hear. We know the reward that comes through fidelity with Christ.
Blessings on this late Summer Sunday!