Understand, Accept, Embrace

February 16, 2023
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

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Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” Mark 8:27

In answer to this question, the disciples informed Jesus that some thought He was “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” But then Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was. It was Peter who responded by saying, “You are the Christ.”

As we ponder this exchange between Jesus and the disciples, try to hear our Lord ask you the same question. “But who do you say that I am?” Though you most likely will find this easy to answer on an intellectual level, don’t answer it too quickly. Think about it. Deep within your soul, what do you believe about Jesus?

Though Peter’s answer is the correct answer, it’s important to ponder what that actually means. This is especially evident by the fact that as soon as Jesus began to explain His mission as the Christ, Peter could not accept it. Jesus explained to Peter and the other disciples that, as the Christ, he would “suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days.” In other words, Jesus wanted the disciples to understand the essence of His mission. His mission was one in which He would become the sacrificial Lamb of God and die for our sins. But this was too much for the disciples to immediately understand, accept and embrace with gratitude.

Do you understand, accept and embrace this primary mission of Jesus? Do you understand that because of the sins you have personally committed, you need a Savior? Do you understand that the consequences of your sins are death? Eternal death? And do you further understand that it is only by Jesus’ death that all sin and death are destroyed?

Sometimes we can fall into the fallacy of thinking that Jesus is only an inspirational figure Who teaches us how we should live. And though that is true, Jesus is so much more. He is the one and only way to Heaven. Without His death and resurrection we cannot attain Heaven. He is the one and only Savior. The Lamb Who was slain for our sins. The one and only source of eternal redemption. The exclusive bridge between Heaven and humanity. And though you might understand this intellectually to a certain extent, your faith in this fact must enter deeply into your soul so that you can believe it and embrace His gift of eternal salvation within the deepest core of your being. This takes a radical understanding, acceptance and embrace if we are to truly receive the gift of Jesus’ life.

Reflect, today, upon how you would answer this question from our Lord. “Who do YOU say that I am?” If you are to answer this correctly, then it requires that you continually deepen your understanding, acceptance and full embrace of the saving mission of our Lord. Though this is a lifelong process, we must never stop entering more deeply into this divine mystery and gift so that we will become completely transformed by the life, death and resurrection of He Who is the Christ of God.

Saving Lord, please open my mind and heart to You more deeply this day and every day of my life. May I continually go deeper in my faith and understanding of You and Your divine mission of salvation. As I do, please transform me more and more so that I will be more fully disposed to receive all that You came to bestow upon me. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above: Christ and His Disciples on Their Way to Emmaus By Pieter Coecke van Aelst, via Wikimedia Commons


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