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Luke 9:18-22

The gospel selection today is one that proves the adage, “The Gospel is ever new.” The “newness” is not that the words we read or hear were never there before (and thus new. Rather, the “newness” is that I have changed and the gospel passage is being heard, in a sense, by a new me.

Jesus first asks his disciples a factual question, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” The people who have been listening to Jesus consider him a prophetic presence like John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the ancient prophets. They see Jesus as a man of God and thus special like the prophets were.

Then Jesus asks the disciples a much more difficult question, “who do YOU say that I am?” Peter articulates the truth about Jesus:“the Christ of God.” In Matthew’s version of this story Jesus is amazed at Peter’s answer and acknowledges that Peter’s insight into Jesus (that he is the Christ, the Messiah) does not come from his own thinking. Jesus recognizes that Peter’s insight comes from God.

Jesus’ questions comes to us as well as to the disciples. We can say fairly clearly what the scholars, for example, say about Jesus – who he is, what he did, when he lived, what were his accomplishments, joys, sorrows – but the real question is who I, like Peter, say that Jesus is.

The answer to that question is found in the ongoing and deepening way that I understand and express who Jesus is for me as I am right now. The question and the answer are both part of the ongoing relationship that I have with Jesus. And since it is part of that most important relationship in my life, it is constantly revealing more and more of the wonders of who Jesus is for me.

This is why the encounter with Jesus is always new. The encounter with him reveals to me who I am in relationship to him. I need to hear and answer that question (Who do YOU say that I am?) not just once or twice, but constantly.

The “Who do YOU say that I am” question challenges us again and again.
Let us be as bold as Peter in answering Jesus’ identity question. Let us open ourselves to God’s own teaching our hearts who Jesus is for us. Then we can be impelled to live our lives out of the truth of the answer. It the most important question we are called on to answer because it defines our ongoing relationship with Christ.

By John Shanahan

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* Our Way of Life *


"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)



"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)



"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)



"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)



"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)