In this week’s Gospel, Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that am?” I’m sure that it is a result of having to face hard questions last week about whether or not Jesus could be wrong, but this conjures up images for me of times in my life when I’ve felt insecure and unsure of myself. To my closest friends I might ask, “What do you think I’m like, really?” or, more likely, “You don’t think I’m crazy, do you?” There are moments in our lives when we just need some extra reassurance that we really are okay.
Is that what was happening with Jesus? I don’t think there are any scholars who would go with me on this one. And, to be honest, I’m not real sure I can either. But, I do like the question. I do appreciate considering a time in the life of Jesus when he had to look at Peter and say, “You think I’m doing this right, don’t you?” Of course, he began with what all the others had to say about who the “Son of Man” is. But, just as quickly as they answer, he turns it on them, “But what about you?” [Living Liturgy 2014]
Is this a test of their own faith or an identity crisis for which Jesus needs some comfort and reassurance? Whatever it is, Peter is quick to answer. Isn’t he always? “You are the Messiah, of course!” And, this seems to do the trick. For whatever it was that Jesus was looking, he got it and turns his attention away from himself and back to his followers – Peter, in particular, the rock.
There is a word for us as well. “Whatever you bind on earth, bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth, loose in heaven. Here, take these. They are the keys to the kingdom.” And, so our own identity crisis begins.
Jesus chose ordinary human beings who simply open themselves to the capacity to be great believers because they are first great hearers of the revelation.
Revelation means that we open our eyes to see and our ears to hear and our hearts to experience Jesus’ Presence and power in the daily happenings around us. The infant who utters the first word and delights parents,, a person with Alzheimer’s who has a rare moment of recognition, the unexpected good deed that comes our way can all be revelations of Jesus’ identity and saving power. We only need to pay attention to our experience and recognize and receive the gift that is given to us.