Who is Jesus for You

08-27-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Anthony Okolo, C.S.Sp, V.F.

The first reading from the book of Isaiah paints a picture of what was going on towards the end of Isaiah’s prophecy. Thus says the Lord to Shebna, master of the palace, “I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station.” Shebna was meant to be a steward in the royal palace but suddenly, he began to see himself as a king forgetting his position as a steward. In his arrogant behavior God speaks through Isaiah that he would pull him down from his office and get Eliakim to take over whom he will elevate to be a father to many inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. There are times when many people forget that they are mere servants or instruments in God’s hands. Some even tend to arrogate themselves to the position of God. Many others forget that without God all their accomplishments in life would not have been possible. The message of Isaiah in today’s first reading calls for true humility recognizing our position as God’s children.

In the second reading, Paul praises God for His wisdom and knowledge. That’s why he says, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever.” We need to constantly give eternal praise to God in our lives every day. Praising God is a way we appreciate our dependence on God. God does not need our praises but by praising Him we acknowledge Him as our God in whom every existence and life proceeds from.

In the gospel, Jesus questions His disciples about His identity. He said to them “who do you say that I am?” They gave different answers of what people said He was, but He asks a direct question to them as to what His identity is. Peter, led by the Holy Spirit reveals the identity of Jesus and, Jesus confirms that it was the Holy Spirit who revealed the answer to him. Jesus makes Peter the head of His church and gives a profound promise that He will be with the church and that the power of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. From that moment, Peter became the Rock on whose leadership the church is built. God’s church is not a human establishment, but a divine institution led by humans who are mortals. The church has encountered many turbulent challenges in the past and still faces attacks from all fronts till date, but as a divine establishment the Holy Spirit is still guiding the church. The promise of Jesus to be with the church till the end of time is still effective till date.

Our prayer is that God’s Holy Spirit continues to abide in the church that the leaders who are mere mortals listen to the Holy Spirit who has promised to continue to be with the church till the end of time.

Fr. Tony Okolo C.S.Sp., V.F.