He is the Christ!

Jesus went on with his disciples, to the villages of Caesare’a Philip’pi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; and others one of the prophets.” And he asked them; “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

Mark 8:27-29

This conversation in Mark’s gospel comes after Jesus has spent considerable time moving about the countryside. He has healed people, he has taught the crowds, he has walked on water, and he has miraculously fed thousands. Now he is “checking in” with his disciples. He starts with an easy question, “Who do people say that I am?” They have lots of answers for that one. Then he pushes a little harder, “But who do you say that I am?” The group goes silent. Peter emerges, as a leader, and proclaims, “You are the Christ.” In another gospel account of this story, Jesus commends Peter and says, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 16:16).

Jesus is not merely a wandering teacher, healer, miracle-worker, holy man. He is the Messiah. He is the of whom one the prophets foretold, the long-awaited savior of God’s people. His disciples are not just his good buddies, or groupies with whom he pals around. They are the very particular people that He has chosen for a most important task. He wants to make sure that they know who He is, because, when He returns to the Father and leaves the earth, it will be their job to go out to the whole world and “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).

In this passage, which is told in some way in all four gospels, we witness Jesus preparing his disciples for their mission, and we see Peter developing as the leader of this group.

For Reflection

If you have a relationship with God, if you feel a closeness with Jesus, it is not just for your own happiness and good. He loves you and he wants to be close to you, but understand that he also has a special job for you. Ask him what that job is. He’ll tell you when the time is right.

Activity

At bedtime tonight, pray this prayer, “Here I am Lord, I’ve come to do your will.”

For the moms and dads…

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

Mark 6:30-34

I don’t think there is a conscientious parent who reads this passage and doesn’t commiserate with the Apostles. For the parents of little ones, there seems to be no end to the demands made of us. When I had four kids below the age of five, I used to regularly hide in the bathroom for a moment alone. 15 years later, I only have one younger than 5, but I still frequent my old haunt. When her siblings are at school, my little shadow, who pursues me everywhere, perches herself outside and talks to me through the door.

This gospel is a good reminder that Jesus wants us to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” It is absolutely essential to the healthy and holy living of our vocation that we find times and places for rest. And though the bathroom maybe good for a quick fix, it is not going to the get the job done long term.

We must take time for prayer, leisure, and creativity out of the house, away from the children. I advocate a weekly holy hour in Adoration – rest with the Lord and giver of all good and all rest. I also believe in a weekly date night. If the spouses regularly reconnect and rekindle their affection, the home will be stable, the kids will thrive.

Do not be afraid. Do not feel guilty. Walk out the door and don’t look back. Even if the babysitter is peeling the little ones’ hands from your legs and shirttails!

Reflection

What is keeping me from setting aside times for rest? Am I being just to myself, my husband, my God if I do not take times for rest?

Activity

This week, spend time alone with Jesus. Go into a quiet church and sit with the Lord. If you have never made a holy hour, start with 15 minutes. Spend at least 5 of those minutes silencing yourself and focusing on what God might be saying to you. If you don’t hear anything it’s okay. Keep up the practice and you ‘ll learn to hear Him.