Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases: Who do people say, Some say, who do you say, You are the Christ, I will build my church
To the point: In answer to Jesus' query about his identity, the disciples tell Jesus what others are saying about him. Jesus is not simply initiating an open discussion, however; he is leading the disciples to personal understanding and profession of who he is. Peter arrives there when he acclaims, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Each of us must come to this same personal profession about who Jesus is. The church is that community of individuals who have come personally to know who Jesus is and have chosen personally to make Jesus known to the world. Jesus himself will lead us there through our personal encounters with him.
Connecting the Gospel …
… to the First Reading: In the First Reading, God clearly chooses who is not to lead (Shebna is removed from office) and who is to lead (Eliakim is appointed). In the gospel Jesus chooses who will lead—first Peter but then all who profess that Jesus is the Christ.
… to experience: We usually think of “profession” in terms of one's work, and the word implies that someone is well trained, has achieved expertise, and is committed. In this Gospel “profession” means a public declaration of who Jesus is and implies commitment.