A word that creates a lot of anxiety, fear and tension among pupils, students is certainly examination.
When it comes to the time of examinations, there is a lot of fear and anxiety not only in the students, but also among the teachers, school management, parents and the whole family.
Looking at the life of Jesus, in his years of public ministry, we see him as a model teacher, a model educator
He had his students, his pupils, the twelve disciples whom he himself had chosen.
Jesus spent a lot of his time and energy to instruct his disciples, to teach them. And we find him using various teaching methods: thus, he taught them using parables, signs and wonders, miracles and through his various discourses.
At a particular moment in this educative process, he felt the need of having a test, an examination for his students.
On this Sunday, at the beginning of the Gospel we have the narration of that test, that examination.
Jesus asks two questions in this test, two questions that should really stir us to reflection
The first question is: Who do people say that I am?
There were several answers from the part of his disciples, John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets.
All those answers were right, correct answers… for those were the opinions of people about Jesus.
Who do people say that I am?
We could rephrase this question as to arrive the simple question from Jesus…
What knowledge do you have of me? what do you know about me?
It is a question related to the knowledge about Jesus.
It is said that the more you know about a person, the more we will love that person…
It is very much true in our relationship with Jesus…
The more we know about him….love him, remain close to him…faithful to his teaching… live our identity as Christians with zeal…
We have several means to know about Jesus, to grow in our knowledge of him
MOST important among them…The Holy Scripture… the Bible
The famous saying of St. Jerome: the ignorance of the Scripture is ignorance of Christ
Every page of the Bible reveals to us of God, of Jesus, of what He has done on our behalf, of His great promises… reveals of his love, of his mercy
In John 17:3 – In his prayer Jesus explains to us what Eternal Life is: He says it is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent
So the first question from Jesus in his test for his disciples is a call for each one of us to evaluate our knowledge of Him, of our interest to know him, of our love for the scriptures
It is an invitation for us to read, reflect, meditate on the word of God and in it to meet the living God.
Coming to the second question: Jesus asked: Who do you say that I am?
If the first question was related to the knowledge, the second was related to experience
So the question could be understood as:
What experience do you have of me…. what God experience do you have, what Christ experience do you have?
The goal of our Christian living, the goal of all the spiritual exercises and practices that we do is to attain this God experience, this Christ experience…
St. Peter could say as the answer… you are the Messiah.. it was not an answer coming from his knowledge but from his experience… experience of remaining with Jesus
In the Gospel of John…The first disciples having accepted the invitation of Jesus, to come and see… they remained with Jesus and from that experience Philip would say, “we have seen the one about whom Moses in the Law and the prophets wrote.. Jesus Son of Joseph from Nazareth…
After the resurrection of Jesus as he appears for Thomas.. Thomas would make that great faith proclamation… My Lord and My God…. A proclamation out of a God experience, Christ experience…
As Jesus dies on the cross, the centurion would cry out…”truly this man was God’s Son” a statement that reflects the God experience of the Centurion..
It is said of Poet Tennyson.. someone who wrote a lot on God, on God’s love
Taking a walk….. who is God for you…”what is sunlight to this plant is God for me”: A statement from a deep God experience..
The Perfect example: St Paul himself: After his Damascus experience and serious reflection over his experience… he was ready to endure any suffering, ready to go to any extant…
God experience is something for which we constantly strive… the greatest treasure of our lives
On this Sunday.. Jesus poses these two questions before us all: Who do people say that I am, who do you say that I am.. what do you know about me? what experience do you have of me?
Let us continue in our effort to know more about Jesus… let us love the Holy Scripture containing the knowledge of God, of Christ… let not our efforts stop in knowing about Jesus but let it lead us to a God experience, a Christ experience.