I suppose this is the key question:
“Who do you say I am?”
For thirty years I have been trying to answer this and I still have no answer. It falls to a simple uneducated man, Peter, to give a firm answer.
“You are the Christ.” (Matthew 16:13-20)
But perhaps one should not be too ashamed of one’s failings. As Paul reminds us in Romans 11 today, “Who could ever know the mind of God?”
Jesus was a living reality to Peter: He was a man like him, standing, talking, eating with him. For us He is a legend, a symbol. Only the deeply religious – and I am not there yet, maybe never will be – these encounter Him in their mind as a living real person, extant as much now as then.
This then is the crucial, perhaps the only really important, question: Who do you say I am.
St Paul congratulates the people of Thessalonika on the fact that their “faith is growing so wonderfully”. I wish I could say the same, mine goes in fits and starts but it is encouraging that even the Archbishop of Canterbury admits that sometimes he doubts if God exists.
A different meeting and a difficult day but I go to Mass in the Cathedral in the evening. If things go wrong it is trite to say that they can be set right just by praying. Sometimes the prayers seem like tears falling on unforgiving and unknowing rock but at least they can be set in context. Perhaps today’s psalm is of some comfort:
“Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad.” (Ps 95)
The relief came that evening with driving up and being back in Lincolnshire.
Oh dear. The invocation from Jesus is a bit hard. Does it apply to us?
“Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones.” (Matthew 23)
I did a surgery today. How lucky we are, how ungrateful for it, compared to what some people face.
As I read back on today’s gospel, I am thinking as I write of three people I knew well who have died within a week. Jim Dobbin, a Labour MP who fought many a battle with me on the same side. Hugh Stewart, a family friend, and Alistair Steele, the maths and running master at Downside, a very positive and kind and great teacher.
“Stay awake, because you do not know the day when the Master is coming.” (Matthew 24:42)
St Paul could not have put it better today:
“The language of the Cross may be illogical, to those who are not on the way to salvation.” (Corinthians 1:17-25)
As I constantly doubt, no doubt I am not on the way to salvation, but this seems a trifle harsh.
I went to our local church and read Psalm 27, Dominus illuminatio mea – The Lord is my light and salvation.
This may be true to a point but how many times a day – once, twice, three times in twenty-four hours. Hardly very impressive, but the Latin is.