Homily for the twelfth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 9:18-24
 
 
by
 
Father Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Now it happened that as Jesus was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, «Who do the people say that I am?» And they answered, «John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.» And he said to them, «But who do you say that I am?» And Peter answered, «The Christ of God.» But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, «The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.»
 
" And he said to all, «If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Now it happened that as Jesus was praying alone the disciples were with him; and he asked them, «Who do the people say that I am?» "
 
Today Jesus is in the region of Caesarea Philippi, in the north of Palestine, near the source of the Jordan. He preaches the reign of God, he heals the sick; he has multiplied loaves twice already. But now he retires to a place a little out of the way. He stands back, or rather, he invites his disciples to stand back a little and he tries to make them think about the situation in which they find themselves. Do the disciples know precisely who Jesus is and what the people think of him? It seems that they do, and this is the least of things, since we, today, base our faith and our belief on what the Apostles themselves believed during their life. The Church, from her foundation, is built on the rock of Peter's faith and on that of the Apostles: it is this which gives her the name of Apostolic Church! "I believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
 
" And they answered, «John the Baptist; but others say, Elijah; and others, that one of the old prophets has risen.» And he said to them, «But who do you say that I am?» And Peter answered, «The Christ of God.» "
 
That is such a difference! Those who are not disciples of Christ don't know who Jesus is! The notion of 'knowledge' is fundamental in the Christian religion. Jesus, who is "the Life" (Jn. 14:6), and who came to earth to us bring the very Life of God, said, praying to his Father on the day before of his Passion, "This is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (Jn. 17:3) The Life of God, the incarnated Word of Life is he whom the Father sent into the world in order that the Father be known through him: the Son reveals the Father, because he is his perfect Image. The very Life of God is communicated to us only by way of revelation, that is to say by way of knowledge. If we want to have the life of love which God offers us, it is necessary that we know it, not in a natural and scientifical manner, but rather in a manner of faith and love: "So we know and believe the love God has for us." (1 Jn. 4:16)
 
Peter said it: Jesus is God! "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Mt. 16:16) This profession of faith belongs henceforth to the heritage of the Church: Peter said it once, and from that time, it entered into the history of the Church, the mystical Body of Christ! Like a living body, a body which is always growing, whose members live forever in God even when they have ceased to live on earth, the Church never ceases to receive from her members the heritage that they leave her, day after day, up to the end of their lives. All this constitutes the holiness of the Church which is holy in the One who is eternally Holy: Christ Jesus! "I believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
 
" But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, «The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.» And he said to all, «If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.» "
 
The Cross is always there! Even though knowledge allows us to receive the very Life of God, this knowledge is not ordinary knowledge: no, it is the knowledge of the Cross of Christ! Saint Paul tells us this: "For it is written, «I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.» (Is. 29:14) Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God!" (1 Co. 1:19-24)
 
Don't be afraid of the folly of the Cross! It is the wisdom of God! Let us receive into ourselves the Eucharist, the Body of the dead and risen Christ! Let us say to him, through Mary and for Her: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!"
 

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