Another almost volcanic week in Australian civic life! The major question of the Gospel this weekend, “Who do you say I am?” could easily be used as a point for discussion (respectfully please!) The new Word being used to silence others: who can sit in the Australian Parliament, determining the status of all migrants, especially those who arrived by boat? Maybe the same question needs to be put to those who deny the right of others to speak, particularly if, shock horror, they have a faith or religious point of view.
“Who do you say I am?”
“How rich are the depths of God!” In Matthews account, Jesus, in recent weeks, has been on the road; we know now the road will lead to Jerusalem, death, and Resurrection. How do you prepare your friends for such a journey? During that time Jesus took his friends to strange places and met different peoples and he worked his miracles and taught them. We find him today in a Roman town with Roman gods now ruled over by a Jewish King. The new world was encroaching on the established order, and it is there that Jesus pops the question…not by the security of the Sea of Galilee, let alone the sanctuary of the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem.
Years later, Peter is called upon to answer the same question in the centre of the Mediterranean world, Rome, the seat of the powerful Emperor who gave Caesarea Philippi to the Jewish King. Peter answered with his life and began a long tradition of the followers giving the same answer, often in their blood.
It seems that in Australia at the moment, followers of the same Jesus are being asked to answer the same question against a similarly hostile background. Remember our history, and answer like Peter…
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”