Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time 12 September 2021

“Who do people say I am?”

It’s a question that bothers many people in our world today…and asked frequently by various groups, organisations, movements, parties and even family dynasties.

Individuals rarely put the question to the community, though journalists try often to get leaders in the community to answer their persistent demands.

Many attempts in the past few weeks have fallen upon deaf Taliban ears or shrugged off with a cursory “we’ve changed.” Reports from the Panjshir Valley in more recent days would have James thundering his words read this Sunday, “…now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show.”

“Who do people say I am?”

Something must have been niggling at Jesus. He is on his way to Jerusalem. His words and deeds have won the admiration of, well, nearly all. Pockets of resistance, even hostility, have emerged. Battle lines are hardening. Some see him as the new saviour in the tradition of the promised Messiah. He will deliver us from the rule of the hated Romans. Others see him as a threat to the existing order, which he was. Jesus senses that his mission is not really understood by his chosen friends…and sets out to put them on the right road.

It is tough to ask this very same question to a group of friends. Yet, we do need to do just that, every now and then. Their answers may not be as forthcoming as Peter’s. On the flip side we may not really wish to hear them.

But…if James and his forthright statement, “I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds”, is a touchstone for following Jesus, then let’s accept that every now and then we must ask the question, “Who do people say I am?”


Mons Frank