We already know for certain that the answer Peter gives is clearly the right answer.
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Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
“Who do the crowds say that I am?” Jesus asks in today’s Gospel. Then he goes further: “Who do you say that I am?”
It would be a good exercise today for us to answer these two questions honestly. I think it would be very instructive to take stock of the common feeling about Jesus, as well as the true position of each of us toward him.
We know for certain, however, that the answer Peter gives is clearly the right answer: “Peter said in reply, ‘The Christ of God.’”
But this answer remains incomprehensible without the light of the wisdom of the Cross that Jesus adds immediately afterward:
“He said, ‘The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.’”
We suffer much only when we love much. Love is mysteriously linked to suffering, perhaps because the counterpart of suffering is even greater: It is happiness, joy.
Today we remember St. Pio of Pietrelcina, and what comes to mind when we think of him is essentially the living image of Jesus Crucified imprinted on his flesh. We would be tempted to say that this man suffered much, but the more correct phrase would be, “This man loved much.” And it’s precisely this excess of love that turned him into a source of grace for many people.
No one accepts suffering except out of love. But when we love, we can bear much. And if we love Christ, then we are capable of anything. It would be good for us to learn this lesson.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.