We know that Jesus asks his disciples and apostles the following question.
Each of us can be asked that same question.
We respond by the way we live our lives.
In the first reading is from one of the 12 minor prophets, Zechariah, who preached shortly after the return from the Babylonian exile, around 520 B.C. He encourages those returning to the destroyed city of Jerusalem to rebuild everything especially the Temple.
He foretells of the future coming of the Messiah and predicts that there will be an age of compassion and forgiveness.
Today, we can look back and realize the prediction is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, his passion, suffering, death, and resurrection bring that age of mercy and compassion today.
They looked upon Jesus as a holy man, like one of the prophets of old. Some were even doubting that he was the Messiah, the promised one.
Today we can look back on the life of Jesus and understand that He fulfills what the prophet Zechariah was speaking about.
But now the question comes to us.
The same question that was asked of Peter...
Who do you say that I am?
Jesus said to the apostles, his disciples, that if they wished to follow him, they had to pick up the cross and follow.
Through our baptism, we were each called by God to make Christ present in the world. We are called to pick up our cross and follow the Lord, not just with our words, but, perhaps more importantly, with our actions!
He goes on to say that if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants and heirs to the promise, which is eternal life.
If we truly believe that Christ is the Messiah, then we must pray for the gift to truly be able to follow him to pick up the cross and follow Him daily.
Perhaps the cross is putting up with someone who is difficult, or forgiving someone who has hurt you, or not seeking revenge, or putting up with a health problem, patiently. These are all just a few of the examples of the cross that were called to carry daily.
So again the question.
How will you answer today?
If our actions show that at times we do not truly believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, then the time has come to again pray for God's mercy and compassion.
We all, at times, need to ask the Lord to give us the grace, the strength, and the courage to truly be the presence of Christ in the in the world, and to pick up our cross and follow him daily.
He will not refuse us!