Just before hitting the bed and taking my Bible to read I was up chatting with an old school friend who I wasn’t really in touch with and during our course of normal chatting he was sharing about how I was ragged in school for being too fat, slow to play any sports, too shy to talk to the girls etc. and he also shared what most of the other friends shared about me. Being the kind of person I am, my life moved on and I wasn’t really angry or sad at these comments, basically for two reasons –
- These friends were not really my best friends or the closest friends so their opinion about me didn’t really matter to me and
- I was really fat and slow at all the sports, so there was lots of truth in what he spoke.
But that night I took the Bible said a little prayer and asked God a question – how do you see me? And God answered me by the verse Mark 8:27. Now this verse for me had lost its meaning, as I thought this was just another the verse where Peter said the right answer, Jesus was happy and kept a note of it and so later made him the first Pope. But that night, I saw this verse in a whole new light.
The thing that really caught my attention was the question Jesus asked his disciples – Who do people say I am? He didn’t ask the disciples about what do the people think about the way I speak? Or what is their opinion about my language? Or what do they think about the clothes I wear or the way I look? He was just concerned with — who do people think he was? Now I have read quite a bit about the other religions in the world. And the reason why this verse became important was, think about Mohammed now. He believed that Allah’ (Arabic for God) revelations reached him and he wanted the whole world to read the Koran. Buddha spoke about how people should follow his path to God and not worship him. Many other theories in the world also, just suggest ways to be holy and attain the highest good like Karma. But Jesus directly asked about himself – Who do people say I am?
And I think that is because he wanted to draw their attention to his being, to the person that he was, to the mystery of God becoming man. And this made me think what is it that I try to show to others most of the time. Do I try to show how talented I am, how amazing I look or what qualities I have or am I striving to show the people the true person God has called me to be.
It hit me that God doesn’t want me to be remembered as Kelvin Santis – because that’s just my name, he doesn’t want me to be remembered as a very helpful person – because that’s just my nature, he doesn’t want me to be remembered as a good speaker – because that’s just my quality. And as I thought, if Jesus has called me to be a child of God, have I done justice to his call? Am I doing justice to the identity God has given me?
Now when I read further the next line that got my attention was Peter’s reply saying – You are Christ. Peter confirms here that Jesus was God in flesh. And that is the base of Catholic Faith according to me – The Incarnation. The fact that differentiates our faith from all the other faith is the mystery of God becoming man, the Word becoming flesh. In the words of Father Barron – Catholic faith is a matter of body and senses, not only of mind and soul. It is tangible faith.
So that means, the day when I feel sad or low, even the Word that became flesh and now a part of my body is sad and low. Jesus became human to feel what we feel. Indeed we have an amazing God.