In the Gospel this weekend, Jesus is asking his disciples who people say that he is, then who they (the disciples themselves) say that he is. Jesus moves from a general question, seeking public impression, to a personal question directed at his followers. Peter, on behalf of the disciples, has a perfect answer: “You are the Christ.” However, having a correct answer does not mean a correct understanding. The image of the Christ manifests in Jesus does not fit Peter’s preconception. The Christ in Jesus is a suffering servant. The Saviour in Jesus is a crucified lamb. The God in Jesus is a lovingly vulnerable God. What a shock to Peter and his followers. I personally still find this difficult to grasp and understand.
Today we might have a correct answer to the question of Jesus for us: Who do you say that I am? – You are the Christ, the Saviour, who saved us through your passion, death and resurrection. But do we really believe in what we profess? Do we really believe that in Christ we are saved, not through peaceful, blessed and hardship-free experiences, but through the way of the cross? “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let them renounce themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” This is Jesus’ way of redemption and salvation, this is God’s way of transformation and transcendence of self to eternity.
If we believe and say that Jesus is the Christ, like Peter, what understanding do we have about this Christ? How much do we know him personally? We might like to talk to him in quiet prayer so to let him to reveal who he really is to us.
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, every one of you, for being present at my ordination to the priesthood and thanksgiving mass last weekend, praying for me over these times leading up to such an important celebration, and helping me in many ways in preparation and the celebrations. My sincere gratitude and blessings to all.
Furthermore, for those who have not heard about my appointment for next year (starting from January 2019), that I have been appointed by the Provincial Superior to be the Pre-novitiate Director (being in charge of the first year MSC candidates) and the assistant priest at Blackburn parish in Melbourne.
It is a great sadness for me leaving this parish community but at the same time I have been called to serve the MSC Australian Province in a different role. However, I will be in the parish until after Christmas. So I still have a few months to serve and be with you all. Let’s be content in the present moment.
Fr Khoi msc