Monday – August 25, 2014; Matthew 16:13-20
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am? ” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
In today’s Gospel Jesus asks his disciples: “But who do you say that I am? ” to which Peter gives the right answer: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”; pleasing Jesus and causing him to praise Peter for his faith.
In the Gospel Jesus is not only asking the disciples present to answer his question, but also asking all of us to answer the question as we too are disciples!
So, as Christians, and as single parents how do we answer this question?
Okay, you may be wondering what being a single parent has anything to do with who we say that Jesus is…and you might be thinking I am kind of forcing single parenting into this Gospel message…and you would not be completely wrong about that; however, it does still work as being a single parent has effected how I see the world, and has also strengthened my relationship with Christ, as I have had my faith tested more than once over the years that I have been a parent, and as a result my faith has grown and deepened during this time!
In short, being a single parent has impacted my entire life, and that has effected what I say about Christ to my child and to all those I come into contact to in my life.
It is important to note that Jesus’ question was “But who do you say that I am?”, and not “…who DID you say that I WAS?” or “…who do THEY say that I am?”, but it is a direct question to us as to who we say Jesus IS in our world today…and how do we make Christ known in our world? It is not only through our words but also through how we live our lives and raise our children.
By living our faith out-loud on a daily basis, we are making our faith an integral part of our lives and therefore the lives of our children and all those around us. As professing Christians we are telling the world who we say Jesus IS in all that we do.
In today’s Gospel Jesus challenges us to answer his question over and over again…as how we answer this question changes as we grow and our faith develops; just as our children change as they grow, and our relationship with them today is not the same as it was when they were younger…as we have all changed over time, learned new things and new ways of relating to the world and each other.
Sometimes our answer may be more negative, especially when we feel things are not going the way we would like them to, or it may be in the form of a plea for help in a time of trouble. That said, it is important to remember that what we say about Christ is by no means all gloom and doom, and cries for help; as the message of Christ is about hope, praise and the celebration of our lives together! Christ brings us good news about God’s love and that IS something to be celebrated…and to teach our children: that God loves us freely and unconditionally, loves us no matter whom we are and forgives us for times when we have fallen short!
We tell others who Jesus IS when we teach each our children that life is good, and is something to be enjoyed rather than endured…when we remind them that God’s gracious love surrounds us like the air and all we need to do is breathe it in; and this will empower them to tell others who they say Jesus is in their lives…as unlike the disciples we are called to spread the good news of God’s love, and where that news is shared, the light of Christ spreads to light up all the dark corners of our world.
Let us Pray:
God, please help us to always tell others who Jesus is through living our faith out-loud…by putting our faith into all that we do and say. Help us to teach our children to also proclaim Christ in all they do…in their deeds as much as in their words. And God, thank you that through Christ you have already forgiven us for the times when we fall short of your glory and the gift of your gracious love in our lives. Let us also do likewise and forgive our children and others when they too fall short…remembering that none of us are perfect followers of you, but yet we still remain your well-loved children.