The missionary tradition of the Church began with the faith-filled witness to Jesus by his apostles and early followers. Among these the Church gives primacy of place to St. Peter and St. Paul. Today’s first two readings from Acts and 1 Timothy give us insight into the character and witness of these faith-filled apostles. Both preached Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord no matter the risk, and both were martyred in Rome.
Following in their footsteps may seem to be a formidable and even foolhardy challenge. Jesus’ question to Peter offers an approach. Jesus asks Peter –and each of us—“Who do you say that I am?” Our concrete day-by-day answer over the span of our lives to that simple question will mark our own journey of faith. Our heartfelt response to throw in our lot with this Jesus of Nazareth – especially, as Pope Francis reminds us, in our outreach to the poor — will give us “the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.”
How today do I offer a personal response to Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?”
—The Jesuit Prayer Team