Livonia, Michigan

From Fr. Tom

Hopefully your week was blessed.

In today’s Gospel Jesus asks the disciples “who do people say that I am? ” And the disciples don’t know. Some say John the Baptist, still others Elijah, some say one of the prophets. But Jesus goes deeper: “but who do you say that I am? ” Peter responds, “You are the Christ!”

And here is a beautiful biblical example of how someone can be both right and wrong at the same time. Peter thought, like many others, that Jesus was the new King David, who also was called Christos, an anointed one. The word for anointed one in Hebrew is where we get the word Messiah; in Greek, it’s where we get the word Christ. Peter, like so many others, hoped Jesus would be a new King David who would bring back freedom and glory to Israel.

The problem was: Peter and Jesus were not on the same page at that moment about what being the Christ meant. It wasn’t until after the resurrection that Peter finally got it.

If someone ever tries to tell you about a Jesus who is accepting of our sinful behavior, it’s not our Jesus, it’s not our Messiah. It is a trap we can all fall into. What a surprise it is when we discover that the Jesus we meet in the Gospels is sometimes quite different than the Jesus we have led ourselves to believe in. We can all be guilty of it at times, even priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. Judging by our Gospel reading today, even the disciples fall into that trap.

Being the Christ meant, “to suffer greatly, be rejected, be killed, and rise in three days.” And imagine the shock the disciples must have felt when Christ said, “whoever wishes to come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.” This is our Messiah.

But Jesus is asking us today: “Who do you say that I am?” This might be the most important question Jesus will ever ask us. What is our answer? Who is the Jesus we pray to at night? Is it really Jesus as revealed to us in the Gospels or simply a projection of our best self, a selfjustifying image? It is a good question to ask ourselves as individuals. It is good question to ask ourselves as the Church. Here is a good spiritual test. If the Jesus we pray to always agrees with us, chances are we are in trouble. It can be a very healthy spiritual exercise to consider the image of the Jesus we have in our mind with what is presented to us in the Gospels and in our worship together.

A good starting place might be to pick up our bible this week, blow off the dust and start reading it again. “Who do you say that I am?” How do we respond? Jesus is waiting for us to answer, in thought, word and deed. How do we think of Jesus? How do we speak of Jesus? How do we make the world a better place as a disciple of Jesus? How does our belief in our Loving God help us become more loving and truthful in the world we find ourselves?

Do not stop searching for your personal answer to the question: “Who is Jesus for me?” until the moment you profess like Peter:

“You are the Christ, Son of the living God.”

September 11th
On this solemn day of memorial in the United States, remembering the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001 and the many that perished that day, the many that lost their loved ones, may we all pray and work for unity, understanding, love and peace in our country and in the world.

Welcoming Weekend
This weekend we celebrate Welcoming Sunday in our parish. Every three months, we recognize, welcome, and bless our new parishioners. Please help other people, especially our guests and visitors, realize (and not only on that weekend) how open, hospitable, and welcoming our faith community is.

Parish Picnic 2021
You are all invited to our parish picnic this Sunday, September 12th, after the 11 am Mass until 3 pm. Come with your children and grandchildren and invite your friends and neighbors. Let’s make this a day of celebration for our parish and neighborhood. Young Adults gathering On Wednesday, September 15th we invite The Young Adults for the first formation evening when we’ll discuss “What Shall I Do That I May Inherit Eternal Life?”. We will gather in the church at 7 pm for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and fellowship in the Activity Center afterwards. Please join us!

Have a blessed week.

Fr. Tom