26 Week 26. Semaine 26.

Friday of 25th Week, uneven numbered year

Jesus was praying alone. As his disciples came to him he put this question to them : ’Who do the crowds say I am?’

“They replied : ’ Some say John the Baptist ; others Elijah ; others again one of the ancient prophets come back to life.”

Having accompanied Jesus for a while, Jesus’ disciples might have well come around to suspecting the mystery of His Person. They believe that Jesus speakes and acts in the name of God, that he is sent by the Lord. Jesus takes his disciples ’aside’ to help them to reach a more mature faith. The prayer life of Jesus often draws attention to the Evangelists who mention it before a siginificant moment in Jesus’ Mission. The prayer here shows that Peter’s profession in the name of the other disciples raises them up to a level that is superior than that of ordinary people. Jesus’ prayer obtains for them a life of faith, a welcome to God’s Revealtion : ’It is not a human being who has revealed this truth to you, ’declares Jesu to Peter, ’but my Heavenly Father .’ God is so marvellous because he goes over things all the time. Mary, in the secret of her heart, is the only one who knows who Jesus is. At the Annunciation and at Chrsitmas, she has us contemplate Christ’s coming in human flesh. When Jesus will have grown up, he will quote the passage of Isaiah : ’ The Lord has sent me, he has sealed me with unction…the Good News is announced to the poor…’ After the joyful mysteries and the luminous mysteries that come about in our lives, comme the sorrowful mysteries. As it was in the life of Jesus, the luminous mysteries give us strength and courage.

“But you, ’Jesus said to them, ’Who do you say I am?’ It was Peter who spoke up.’The Christ of God,’ he said.”

Jesus asks who he is for us, for them ! Peter’s reply is rapid and bears witness to the marvels which Jesus works : He makes the limp walk, he heals the blind, he brings back the dead to life! But Jesus will be in a hurry to shed another light : ’ The Son of man must suffer greatly,be rejected and on the third day must rise again.’ Jesus, the crucified Messiah,will become Light for us at the hour of peril. We understand Peter’s difficulties where there are nothing but ruins and so we turn to prayer!

“Judge me God, defend my cause against a people who have no faithful love; from those who are treacherous and unjust, rescue me. For you are the God of my strength, why abandon me? Why must I go around in mourning, harrassed by the ennemy? Send out your light and your truth; they shall be my guide, to lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.” (From Psalm 42)

“But Jesus gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone. He said, ’The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously , to be rejected by the elders and the scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.”

And so Jesus raises his discples up to a different level. Peter’s reply : ’You are God’s Messiah.’ He is indeed the One who receieved unction, the One who, in virtue of this sign, belongs to God and represents him. Jesus is the One to whom all of humanity’s history converges. The One who has a mission to transfigure our humanity by a new existence. Only God’s Light can enlighten us about the Person of Jesus. Peter’s difficulty, like that of each one of us, is real : How do we enter into the understanding of Jesus’ mystery? Jesus expects us to be able to read on his face of love his most intimate being! ’I don’t know that man! ’Peter will cry out, seeing Jesus in agony. He was stripped, was beaten, given a crown of thorns and a cloak of mockery! Peter does indeed no longer recognise him. Where is the truth of the Saviour he once knew? Now it is failure. It is when we have reclothed Christ that we know the real face of Christ from within, as Mary did : ’The bride follows the lamb everywhere he goes.’ It is confirmed to us. We shall find ourselves in situations that are painful, and it will be possible to recognise Jesus within ourselves : ’Do not be afraid, I am with you!’

We ask for th egrace to hear this luminous word, that it may guide our steps and lead us to Christ.