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February 2006 

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Who am I?



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Who am I?

Mt 16, 13-21; "For you, who am I? Peter answered: You are the Christ, the son of the living God"…" Blessed are you Simon…" Then Jesus strongly recommended to his disciples not to tell the people that he was the Messiah"

Jésus et les disciples On his way and probably searching his own identity, Jesus interrogated his disciples: "For you, who am I" "for you" means that he was addressing to the group of disciples. This has also the strength of a personal question, who ever we are. 
Just before, the disciples reported what the people were saying: " for some, you are the Son of man or Johan the Baptist, for others Elijah or one of the prophets" Easy answers that do not cost much. When Jesus said: "for you" Simon was the only one to answer. Were the others afraid to answer? Were they not too sure what was the right answer? According to the Gospel we cannot say that Simon was answering for the others and that all agreed with him. Simply with conviction, he proclaimed what seemed evident for him, at the time he was walking with the Master;" you are the Christ (Messiah) the son of the living God".

For Peter the expression "son of the living God" means a man specially loved by God and close to him. Peter shared the opinion of his people about the Messiah: a saviour, a liberator who will liberate Israel from the Roman occupation. By following Jesus Peter was seeing him as a man full of humanity, who restored the blind and the lame, a prophet who was freeing the consciences from the weight of the Law…

Jesus congratulated Peter for these words, so much better, so much more true than what was said about him: "Happy are you Simon" 

Jésus et Pierre

Even imperfect or limited, to penetrate the mystery of Jesus is a source of joy. This is not reserved to an elite or to those specialized in religious studies, a simple fisherman from Galilee can have access to this mystery, and so every body who follows Jesus as his Master with a sincere desire to know him.

Jesus added: "you did not find it by yourself, it is my Father who revealed it to you" He made understood that the true knowledge of him is still incomplete. In fact "since that day, he began to show to his disciples that he will suffer, be put to death and on the third day he will be resurrected…(Mt 16, 21) and Peter said: "God will not let it happen!"

We understand why Jesus severely ordered his disciples not to tell to the people that he was the Messiah" That was so inconceivable, so unthinkable for them and for the crowds.
le Messie It is only after the passion and the resurrection and at the light and with the strength of the Holy Spirit that the disciples were able to testify to this verity, a verity they experienced with astonishment in painful circumstances. 

However far advanced in his faith a true witness of Jesus might be, he is not going to trumpet without distinction his convictions. Like Paul the Apostle, he knows that "our knowledge is limited (1Co, 13,12). Peter himself invites us to be peaceful and respectful when we are interrogated on our hope (1Pi 3, 15-16).
This does not prevent us to speak with conviction in relation with how we live: this is what I can say today, that makes me comfortable and happy but I don't pretend to deliver an answer entirely satisfying. What I will discuss with you, perhaps will help me to better understand my way of thinking. 

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