WHO IS JESUS?
In today's Gospel passage (cf. Mk 8: 27-35), the question that goes through the whole Gospel of Mark returns: who is Jesus? But this time it is Jesus himself who places it to the disciples, gradually helping them to face the question of his identity. Before asking the Twelve directly, Jesus wants to hear from them what people think of him - and he knows very well that the disciples are very sensitive to the popularity of the Master! So he asks: "The people, who do they say I am?" (V. 27). It emerges that Jesus is considered by the people a great prophet. But, in reality, he is not interested in polls and people's gossip. He does not even accept that his disciples answer his questions with pre-packaged formulas, citing famous people of the Holy Scriptures, because a faith reduced to formulas is a short-sighted faith.
The Lord wants his disciples of yesterday and today to establish a personal relationship with Him, and thus welcome him to the center of their lives. This is why he urges them to ask themselves in all truth before themselves, and asks: "But you, who do you say that I am?" (V. 29). Jesus, today, addresses this request so direct and confidential to each of us: "You, who do you say I am? Who do you say that I am? Who am I for you? ". Everyone is called to respond in his heart, letting himself be illuminated by the light that the Father gives us to know his Son Jesus. And it can happen to us, like Peter, to affirm enthusiastically: "You are the Christ". But when Jesus tells us clearly what he said to the disciples, namely that his mission is accomplished not in the broad road of success, but in the arduous path of the suffering, humiliated, rejected and crucified Servant, then it can also happen to us, like Peter , to protest and rebel because this contrasts with our expectations, with worldly expectations. In those moments, we too deserve the healthy reproof of Jesus: "Get behind me, Satan! Because you do not think according to God, but according to men "(v. 33).
LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING
Brothers and sisters, the profession of faith in Jesus Christ can not stop at words, but asks to be authenticated by choices and concrete gestures, by a life marked by the love of God, by a great life, by a life with so much love for the next. Jesus tells us that in order to follow him, to be his disciples, one must deny oneself (see verse 34), that is, the claims of one's own selfish pride, and take up one's own cross. Then it gives everyone a fundamental rule. And what is this rule? "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Often in life, for many reasons, we are on the wrong way, looking for happiness only in things, or in the people we treat as things. But we find happiness only when love, the real one, meets us, surprises us, changes us. Love changes everything! And love can change us too, each of us. The testimonies of the saints demonstrate this.
May the Virgin Mary, who lived her faith faithfully following her Son Jesus, also help us to walk in her path, generously spending our lives for him and for our brothers.
(ANGELUS ADDRESS by Pope Francis on the 16th September 2018)
Look upon us, O God,
Creator and ruler of all things,
and, that we may feel the working of your mercy,
grant that we may serve you With all our heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
GOSPEL READING: MK 8:27-35