27 August 2017 ~ St. Monica Feast Day ~ Father Ron Moses
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20~ Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
How well do we answer the questions posed by Jesus?
Who is Jesus for you? Who are you?
Jesus asks many questions, but very few really answer them. Sure, Simon answers the question, but the credit doesn’t go to Simon. Jesus tells him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”
Who do people say I Am?
Some say the Christ, Lord, Savior, miracle worker, story teller, prophet, servant, healer, teacher, etc. All of these are correct. Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God!” But what does it mean? In order to answer this question, I believe we need to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” Jesus could only ask his question because he knew who he was. Do you really know who you are as saint and sinner?
Unless we have experienced Jesus loving us in our weakness and failures, we may never understand who Jesus is… or who we are.
Who is the Jesus of your journey?
For all of us, may I suggest that Jesus is the one who washes our feet? This probably makes all of us uncomfortable. Imagine that we are in the upper room for the last supper as one of the apostles or servants. Unexpectedly, Jesus begins to wash your feet.
Breathe in… Breathe out…
Sensing your dismay and fear, Jesus places his hand on your knee and says, “Do you know what these years together have meant to me? You were being held even when you didn’t believe I was holding you my friend.”
You sense tears rolling down your cheeks. “But Lord, my sins, my repeated failures, my weaknesses…”
Jesus gently interrupts by saying your name, “I understand. Beloved, I expected more failure than you expected yourself.” Jesus smiled. “And you always came back. Nothing pleases me as much as when you trust me, when you allow that my compassion is bigger than your sinfulness.”
But you protest, “But Jesus, what about my irritating character defects—the boasting, the inflating of the truth, the pretense of being prayerful and holy, the impatience with people, and all the times I drank to excess or lust got the better of me?”
Jesus looks into your eyes, “What you are saying is true. But your love for me has never wavered. Your heart has remained pure. What’s more, even in the darkness and confusion, you’ve always done something that overshadowed all the rest. You were kind to sinners.”
“Now I’ll go.” Jesus says, “I’ve washed your feet. Do the same for others. Serve my people humbly and lovingly. You will find happiness if you do. Peace my friend.”
So who are you Jesus? You, Jesus, are the one who wash my feet. You are faithful to me when I am unfaithful to you. You welcome all people, especially sinners, into your loving arms. There are no exceptions. You help me to carry my cross like Simon. You wipe my face like Veronica. You never give up on anyone. You are all compassionate, joyful, kind, merciful and faithful.
You, Jesus, ask me who I am?
I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. Still You hear me when I’m calling, Lord, you catch me when I’m falling. And You’ve told me who I am. (Song by Casting Crowns)
I am yours. I am yours!
Who shall I fear? Who shall I fear? ‘Cause I am yours. I am yours.
I am precious in the eyes of God, the Father.
I am precious in the eyes of Jesus and his community.
I am Good News! Amazing!!!!
(Reflection on washing of feet adapted from Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus: the stranger to Self-Hatred (HarperCollins Publishers, New York), chapter 2, pp 23-50)