Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (Luke 9:18-22)
WHO DO CROWDS SAY THAT I AM?: The gospel for today caused me to reflect on the age-old question, “How well do you really know someone?”
When we consider how incredibly difficult it is to truly know and understand another human being, it is not surprising that it is nearly impossible to truly know and understand God. Truly knowing God doesn’t seem promising. If you’re anything like me, each time you feel like you may be close, something happens to turn your understanding on its ear.
You know and understand a loving and compassionate God, and then a loved one dies suddenly and unexpectedly. You know and understand a fair and protective God, and then an earthquake rocks an underdeveloped country like Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people and leaving another million or more homeless. You know and understand a generous God, yet your continued prayers for relief from debt or freedom from addiction seemingly go unheard.
Trust. Faith. Belief in something we cannot fully understand. All of this makes the question Jesus asked His disciples in today’s gospel come to life: Who do the crowds say that I am?
Who do we say Jesus is? We have no idea. Yet we seek to understand, and the seeking becomes the foundation for our faith. It is when we stop seeking to understand that the flame of our faith can potentially die out.
Seeking to understand God is no different than seeking to understand our spouse, our children, or our friends.
It requires self-reflection. How am I interacting with God?
It requires dialogue, prayer – open and honest conversations with God.
It requires an open heart and an open mind, accepting that I don’t have all of the answers.
It requires loving through my lack of understanding.
We are obligated to seek understanding. We are invited to surrender in faith.