NOTES FROM LINDA ARNOLD - FAITH FORMATION DIRECTOR
August 25, 2017
One of the tasks of middle schoolers in particular seems to be discovering who they are and who they are becoming. Indeed, they look to friends and family to see how others see them. In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus ask “Who do people say I am?” - a timely question as our young people prepare to return to school or to begin new adventures. Like the disciples, it is easy for us to lean on familiar answers—a Elijah, John the Baptist and so on. Peter is the one who singularly takes the leap to verbalize “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” What is remarkable about Peter’s answer is his reference to the “living God.” All the other responses speak to events that are part of the past. The “living God” is active and present now and forever! And that opens the possibility of a relationship with God.
Peter’s public declaration is a leap of faith. Recognizing his willingness to think outside the box, to rely on an ongoing relationship with a ‘living God’, and to risk conflict, Jesus names him as a leader who receives something more important that power. In naming the significance of ’relationship’, he becomes a leader who can discern, change, and guide others. Now, Peter is not without failings as well we know. But that too shows that relationships develop—they continue to grow and change as do we. Even more—God is patient and forgiving.
The question Jesus posed to the disciples is a question Jesus asks us as well. Who do YOU say Jesus is today? In your life? What helps to strengthen your relationship with our living God? How and when has your answer changed over time? Who or what helps you to answer this question? Perhaps you can include this question in your prayer time or mealtime discussion this week.
Blessings on your week, Linda Arnold
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