Pope Francis offered an interesting and worthwhile meditation during his Angelus address on Sunday. He was commenting on the Gospel passage for Mass that day (John 6:60-69), in which Jesus presents his disciples with some hard truths. As a result, many of them parted ways with him. So, Jesus turned to the Twelve and said, "Do you also want to leave?" To this, Simon Peter, speaking for all of them, responded, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."
This scene, Pope Francis was suggesting in his address, is an excellent one in which to place ourselves--within our modern circumstances. Which way do we to wish to go? Whom should we follow? Why? What--or who--directs and motivates our lives? How does that direction or motivation affect each minute of the day--what we think, say, or do? Where is this path taking us?
And, if we have declared, along with Peter, that we wish to follow Christ and Christ alone, well, what does that mean? Who is Jesus for us? What does it mean to follow him? These are very personal and essential questions that each Christian must ask himself or herself (and more than once). I encourage you, along with Pope Francis, to take these questions to prayer and listen, as St. Benedict would say, "with the ear of the heart."
Here is a portion of the Pope's address:
[Peter] does not say "where shall we go?" but "to whom shall we go?" ... From that question of Peter, we understand that faithfulness to God is a question of faithfulness to a person, with whom we are joined in order to walk together along the same road.
All that we have in the world does not satisfy our hunger for the infinite. We need Jesus, to remain with him, to nourish ourselves at his table, on his words of eternal life! To believe in Jesus means making him the center, the meaning of our life. Christ is not an accessory. He is the "living bread," the indispensable nourishment. Attaching ourselves to him, in a true relationship of faith and love, does not mean being chained, but rather profoundly free, always on a journey.
Each one of us can ask himself, right now, "Who is Jesus for me? Is he a name? An idea? Is he simply a person from history? Or is he really the person who loves me, who gave his life for me and walks with me?"
Who is Jesus for you? Do you remain with Jesus? Do you seek to know him in his Word? Do you read the Gospel every day, a passage from the Gospel in order to know Jesus? ... The more we are with him, the more the desire to remain with him grows.
Now I kindly ask you, let us take a moment of silence, and each one of us, in silence, in his or her heart, ask yourself the question: "Who is Jesus for me?"
|(cf. Matthew 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20)|