Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

 Luke 9:18-24

“You are the Christ of God”

It was Peter who spoke up and uttered these words, words so familiar to us now that we can simply take them for granted. But what did it mean for Peter to make this staggering act of faith? He was addressing Jesus, whom he had known for three or so years, and with whom he had talked, walked and shared meals. He knew of his background as a carpenter, probably with the marks of his trade still evident on his hands. Above all he knew him as a friend, and called him Jesus in the same way that Jesus called him Simon or, later, Peter.

And to this friend Peter says: “You are the Christ of God” – the Messiah, the “anointed one” for whose coming the Jews were longing; the one who would be God’s representative, charged with responsibility for God’s kingdom. This deep longing went back to the promise made to King David of a successor specially “anointed” and appointed, by God. But then this same longing went way back even further, to the promises made to Abraham of a great nation, a fertile land and blessing to the nations. And this in turn was connected to a still more basic universal hope that some “son of a woman” would crush the serpent’s head – that the human condition would not always be imperfect as it is now. All of this, humanity’s age-long desire for happiness, for salvation, is summed up in Peter’s few, apparently simple, words: “The Christ of God”.

 

Jesus icon.jpg

 

“Jesus is the Christ”: in him the whole history of the world, all its hopes and desires, found its climax and explanation.

And now Jesus turns and says to me: “But you, who do you say I am?”