Undoubtedly the World Cup is now the biggest event in these days. We can hear and see it almost everywhere; even buying soft drinks we can see “football-ish” dressing or emblems. Uncountable producers of ordinary things offer us wonderful prizes if we buy their products – of course associated to the World Cup. Some people have been excited in watching the football matches, when others have already had enough. Some journalists focus their attention on these matches, when others are more interested in things surrounding the game. Almost everybody is affected by the event in some way. But everyone has a different attitude towards the World Cup, and this attitude is our own choice. So, there are people trying to watch as many matches as possible while others avoid the event as much as possible. Personally I’m somewhere in the middle.
The ability of making decisions, connected with intellect, gives us enormous power to shape our lives. This ability – as we believe – makes us human beings. And this ability is something that Jesus appeals to in us. In today’s gospel the Lord puts a question about people’s opinions about himself. This question appeals to the Apostles’ intellect, knowledge. They are sharing easily what they had known. But then Jesus asks another question: “Who do you say I am?”. A reply to this question is much more demanding than the previous one, because this is not just an opinion. This reply describes my attitude towards Jesus. His question concerns the meaning of him in my life, in my personal choices.
There are many possible answers. For some people Jesus is nobody special; just another more or less historical philosopher, who left more or less useful advice. For others Jesus is just a part of the culture and tradition they were brought up in. Again for others Jesus is part of a superstition: they baptise their children and keep other religious rituals “just in case”. And finally there are people who take Jesus and his teachings seriously and try to live their lives according to the gospel.
We here are expected to give our own answers to the Lord’s question. He’d like to be treated seriously. There are some criteria to help us finding the right way: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me”. Taking Jesus seriously means living our lives responsibly and unselfishly. The ability of making my own choices makes me human; the ability of choosing Jesus as my Saviour makes me Christian. This is my reply.
“Who do you say I am?”. What is your answer?