Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Today, we hear Jesus asking the question at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  When they respond with various answers, but not the right one, Jesus asks them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

The heart of Christianity is that God became one of us.  That God the Son took on a human nature while retaining his divine nature.  Jesus Christ, in his person, is both fully human and fully divine.  He is not a merely human person elevated to the divine after his Ascension.  In his divinity, he existed before time began.  He is not a creature created by God after time began.  There is no time at which he was not.  But, in his Incarnation, he took on a human nature.  Not just appeared to be human in some sort of illusion.  He became human.  He is not some human being named Jesus that God the Son adopts temporarily for his own purposes.

God the Son, in his human nature, experienced human emotions.  He knew physical pain.  He was hungry and thirsty.  He got tired.  He suffered and died.  He knows our experience.  He lived it.  But he never stopped being divine.

Jesus’ teaching is important.  But only because of who Jesus is.  If not for who he is, his teaching would have no importance whatsoever.  But because the Word speaks these words, they become very important. 

Other religions might have interesting teachings from interesting men or women.  But Christianity’s teachings come from God entering our world to bring them to us. 

To have an appreciation for the teachings, we must fully appreciate the being of Jesus Christ.

Does this understanding come from something that the Church invented well after the time of Christ?  No, it is found in the Prologue of John…those first few verses of John’s Gospel (“In the beginning was the Word…”).  It is found in Jesus’ own statements that he is God.  And that he existed before Abraham. 

If Jesus is God…if Jesus is God the Son entering into our world…giving his life for us…is there anything more important to us?  Does not everything of any significance flow from that?

Of course, it all depends on one thing.  How do we answer Jesus’ question?

“Who do you say that I am?