Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
When the Prince of Peace echoes the Temporal Tetrarch in asking His disciples who people say this Jesus fellow is, the Twelve quite literally deliver yesterday’s news. But then Jesus takes it a step further, asking His followers who they themselves say that He is. Peter wins the prize: the Christ of God.
Unlike the kings of His day Jesus does not blow a trumpet, does not send His followers to the four corners of Palestine to win Him fame and acclamation. Rather He does the complete opposite and demands their silence. What’s more He warns them yet again of His impending death and resurrection.
How can we make sense of this? Earlier this week when Christ first foretold His death, the disciples had no idea who He really was beyond being their leader and rabbi. But now they have an idea that He is more than that: the Anointed One. This is dangerous knowledge not only because it is this claim that will lead to Jesus’ own death but because it would also lead to the death of many of the apostles in the years ahead. We can imagine how well the nascent Church might have fared if, from this early moment, Peter and the others began to preach not only that the Kingdom of God was at hand but so was its King! Keeping the latter to themselves, at least until the full revelation of His kingship upon the Cross, was a wise call.
Yet what a privilege to know the truth of who Jesus was, far in advance of even those privileged in the religion of the day: the elders, the chief priests, the scribes. They who were thought to know the mysteries of God did not recognize Christ for who He truly was. Yet because Peter had the humility to listen to Jesus and let His words begin to change his heart, he knew. Peter and the others received the gift of knowing Jesus as no one else knew Him, and yet this privilege did not cause them to think themselves greater; rather, it caused them to more zealously seek to open other hearts to the same truth, that all might share their joy. Let us do likewise: let us humbly and joyfully share Christ with the whole world.