FROM BETHSAIDA-JULIAS JESUS and the disciples traveled north to the district of Caesarea Philippi. On the way, after a pause for prayer, He asked His followers:
“Who do men say that I am?”
“Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “And others, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
“But who do you say that I am?”
Now Peter replied, saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Pleased with this declaration of faith, Jesus said:
“Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to thee, but My Father in heaven. And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then He bade them tell no one what they had heard. At this time He predicted His passion and resurrection:
“The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and Scribes, and be put to death, and on the third day rise again.”
Peter drew Him aside and began protesting that this was impossible, but Jesus rebuked him before the others:
“Get behind me, satan, thou art a scandal to Me; for thou dost not mind the things of God, but those of men.”
And He said to the disciples:
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For he who would save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for My sake and for the gospel’s sake will save it. For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes with the holy angels in the glory of His Father.”
“Amen I say to you, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death, till they have seen the kingdom of God coming in power.”
Meditation: Christ corrected Peter, who could not accept the idea of His passion. He pointed out to all the disciples that suffering, the “cross,” is inescapable [or His followers. Do I accept my crosses, my ills and discomforts and injuries, as opportunities for imitating Him, who suffered so long and so patiently?
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 109-110. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.