Saturday, September 12, 2015

Recognizing Jesus Christ

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
September 13, 2015

Mark 8:27-35

The episode has a central and decisive place in Mark's story. The disciples have been living with Jesus for some time. The moment has come for them to express themselves clearly. Who are they following? What do they find in Jesus? What do they grasp from his life, his message and his plan?

Since they joined him, they've been asking themselves about his identity. What strikes them is the authority with which he speaks, the power with which he heals the sick, and the love with which he offers God's forgiveness to sinners. Who is this man in whom they feel so present and so close to God as Friend of life and forgiveness?

All kinds of rumors are running around among the people who haven't lived with him, but Jesus is interested in his disciples' position: "But who do you say that I am?" It's not enough that there are different, more or less correct opinions among them. It's essential that those who are committed to his cause, acknowledge the mystery that lies within him. If not, who will keep his message alive? What will become of his plan for the kingdom of God? Where will that group that is trying to implement it end up?

But the question is also vital for his disciples. It affects them radically. It isn't possible to follow Jesus lightly and unconsciously. They have to know him more and more deeply. Peter, recollecting the experiences they have had with him so far, replies on behalf of all: "You are the Messiah."

Peter's confession is still limited. The disciples have not yet known Jesus' crucifixion at the hands of their opponents. They can't even suspect that he will be raised by the Father as a beloved Son. They haven't had experiences that would allow them to grasp everything that lies in Jesus. Only by following him closely, will they gradually discover him with growing faith.

For Christians, it is vital to recognize and acknowledge ever more deeply the mystery of Jesus Christ. If it doesn't know Christ, the Church doesn't know itself. If it doesn't know him, it can not know the most essential and decisive part of its task and mission. But, to know and confess Jesus Christ, it isn't enough to fill our mouths with impressive Christological titles. It's necessary to follow him closely and work with him every day. This is the main task that we must promote in Christian groups and communities.

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