The Gospel reading for Friday contines a series that forces us to reflect on what it means to be a Christian - what it means for us personally, and what obligations we accept because of it.
You'll recall that on Thursday we saw Herod asking of Jesus, "Who is this man?" Today Jesus asks His disciples the same question - who do they say I am? Like Herod, He gets the same answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets. Like Herod, He is not satisfied with those answers. He asks His disciples, "who do you say that I am?" (And I wish more priests and deacons reading this Gospel would emphasize you, for I can imagine that Jesus did, that the question was really a challenge to His disciples - you've told Me what others think, now tell Me what you think.) Of course, Peter makes his confession, and the rest is history.
And this, Fr. Tiffany said in his homily, leads us to the latest in this question of discipleship: if Peter is correct, if Jesus is Son of the Living God, what does that make us?
Among other things, it makes us the bearer of a precious gift, entrusted to us to spread throughout the world. If Jesus is God then we, as His followers, must carry out His command, to spread His Gospel to the ends of the earth. A short, simple lesson to be learned, perhaps. But it makes a nice companion to the readings of the last two days.
Being a follower of Jesus is a great thing; it gives us the instruction manual to life in this world, and it shows us the way to eternal life. In return for our salvation, He asks relatively little of us. But one thing we clearly are called to do is to live the Christian life in all aspects of our lives. As I've said the last couple of days, we do this in different ways, for we are called to serve Him in different capacities. But whether we're in the pulpit or the workplace, whether we come in contact with hundreds or just our families, whether in the public spotlight or the solitude of private life that most of us occupy, our duty is the same. We are the bearers of the gift, and we do not hide that gift. We display it in whatever way we can, overtly or quietly, in our words or in our deeds, in what we do or what we do not do. And we don't listen to those who say that we must put that gift on the shelf when making decisions in the Supreme Court or the Senate, that we do not ignore it in the boardroom or the classroom, that we do not turn it on or off at will, but that we display it and live it 24/7.
When we tell Him who He is, He also tells us who we are. And in telling us who we are - adopted sons and daughters of God - He also tells us what we must do. And we do it. It doesn't take much, but even it if's a little, it's a lot.