Jesus Is Asking You… (Part I of IV)
Either He Rose From the Dead…Or He Didn’t
Excerpts from the Weekend Retreat Talks of Father Stash Dailey
“Who do you say that I am?”
This theme could be gleaned from the words taken from the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel. But it could also be gleaned from a life that is well lived, the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. The more we spend time with the Lord, the more we seek to dwell in His presence, the more that we hear several questions asked over and over and over again.
In order to hear these questions arise within our hearts, in order to be able to hear Him, we need to be still. And perhaps most importantly, depending on where we are in our lives, we need to want to hear Him. When we are listening, one of the questions we will hear Our Lord ask us, time and time again throughout our lives as His disciples, is the question, “Who do you say that I am?”
In order to understand these words, in order to try to offer an answer to the Lord Jesus in response to this question, we have to have an openness to reality, a desire for truth, and a certain cavity within our hearts for divine love, and only divine love. For in seeking to answer that question, we have to have, at least in some degree, some kind of possession of our own identity. We have to know our own limitations, we have to know our gifts and talents, and we have to know who we are. As this great conversation starts to unfold we begin to realize that the Lord Jesus Christ meets us where we are in our lives.
Jesus Meets Us Where We Are
By asking us this question, “Who do you say that I am?”, He has not only met us but He starts to move us, guide us, and prompt us to a whole new place in our lives. He met us where we were in order to bring us to a new place where He wants us to have a fuller understanding of who we are. That place and that deeper understanding of ourselves is ultimately within Him, within His Heart.
So when we hear that question asked, “Who do you say that I am?”, it is not just a quote from a dialogue that occurred 2000 years ago. It is meant to be a reverberation of a conversation that is still taking place between of the Heart of the Divine and the heart of every human who is alive right now.
We seek to answer this question in the silence of our heart, in the solitude of our room, in the encounter we have with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, in the manifestation of His love that we call the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, even in the beauty of creation around us daily. He is going to come to us in words and through events. More important than how He will come is the fact that He is going to come.
Jesus Come to Us
The Lord Jesus comes to each of us in our lives, in every single moment, in every single manifestation of reality, God reveals Himself to us and presents before us an invitation, an opportunity to state, to proclaim, to announce who He is. Not for His benefit. God knows who He is. Jesus knows who He is. Jesus’ identity is not contingent upon our acknowledgement. The Lord isn’t wandering around in some kind of identity crisis. Not today, nor 2000 years ago.
It was only after Our Lord offered the question to His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”, first, did He then ask them, “Who do you say that I am?” The Lord is not in need of some kind of affirmation for the work at hand. He’s not wondering how He is going to ever be able to fulfill the mission that the Father has entrusted to Him. No. He wants to elicit from those who have been following Him, those who know Him, those who love Him, He wants to know what they know, that He is the Christ. Not because He needs it, but because He is trying to build within them the foundation upon which they will be able to stand and profess their faith in Him in all moments, in every day for the rest of their lives.
Editor’s Note: In Part II, we will look at Jesus’ question today and the impact that the Resurrection has on it.
Art: Jesus Discourses with His Disciples, James Tissot, between 1886 and 1894, Restored Traditions, used with permission.