Who is Jesus for you?
The gospel today directs us to Jesus praying in solitude. This is a very solemn, important moment because Luke says, that before He calls the disciples together to ask them that question about Himself, He goes apart to pray. Jesus knows that He’s at a turning point in His life and with His followers, so He spends time in prayer.
It’s notable, especially in Luke’s gospel that every time Jesus reaches a major point in His life, He goes apart to pray. That’s something perhaps we can take from the gospel today, that like Jesus, at times when we’re challenged, we should go apart and pray, seeking God’s help and direction.
In our unnecessarily noisy world, finding solitude is quite a challenge. If we however look at the life of Jesus in relation to all the decisions He made, He did it via discipline and solitude. Before He started public ministry, He spent time alone (Lk 6:12; Mk 1:35).
Finding time is not going to be an easy task if we ourselves do not make that time to withdraw ourselves and pray. The many roles we assume demands us to be multitasking but if we do not include the solitary time to talk to God in prayer, we would not be open to His graces.
In my home, I have to daily remind my family to gather, leave our chores and just sit together in prayer, and ensure each person spend some personal time with God. This has developed into a routine so our sons are learning and making this a part of their daily activity.
After His time in solitude, Jesus then addresses the apostles directly: He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”.
Immediately, Peter responds, “The Messiah of God.” Thus Jesus realises that the 12 disciples, and particularly Peter, have received from the Father the gift of faith, and because of this He begins to speak to them openly about what awaits Him in Jerusalem.
This same question is asked anew to each one of us today. “Who is Jesus for the people of our times? Who is Jesus for each one of us?”. We are called to make Peter’s answer our own answer, joyfully professing that Jesus is the Son of God, the eternal Word of the Father become man to redeem humanity, pouring out over mankind the abundance of divine mercy.
The world needs Christ more than ever, His salvation and merciful love. Many people experience emptiness around them and within them; others live in restlessness and insecurity.
Could we imagine how our Venezuelan brothers and sisters seeking betterment here are feeling? In Christ, and only in Him, is it possible to find true peace and the fulfilment of every human aspiration. Jesus knows the heart of man as no-one else does. That’s why He can heal it, giving it life and consolation.
The hardships and struggles of our Venezuelan brothers and sisters gives us an opportunity to make our response to Christ by not only in word, saying whom He is but by our actions of care, support and as response to assist however we can (not forgetting in prayer).
After having concluding His dialogue with the apostles, Jesus addresses everyone, saying: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Christ invites us here to join His discipleship. When we take up our cross, we bond our experiences with that of Christ. He is with us on this journey and provides us with all the graces needed. May we take up our crosses and work towards improving our lives, parishes and country today as we answer His question.
Father Lord, we thank You for Your word which presents us with such hope, to find God in solitude and to take up our daily crosses and follow You. Be with us daily on our journey, help us as we embrace our crosses to desire change for one another. We pray for the people of Venezuela, in Your mercy and love help us to show Your love and compassion to them. Amen.
The Gospel Meditations for June are by Rosemarie Siewnarine, a wife, mother of two sons and parishioner of Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Carapichaima. She is also a Standard 4/5 teacher at the Carapichaima RC Primary School.