Daily Gospel Reflection – Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
February 16, 2023
Thursday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mk 8:27-33
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?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.”
Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.
He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly.
Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”
No other religious figure or founder would ask such a question. This is the primordial and peculiar question of the Christian faith. It has to do with him and who he is. And so the Church, for the first several centuries, fought intellectually over precisely this odd question.
The first group that “responds” is the general public, giving a range of opinion—and all of it wrong. And if we were to take a public opinion poll today, we would hear “teacher, prophet, guru, madman . .”
Then that devastating question: “But who do you say that I am?” You who are closest to me, surely you have a clearer grasp than the common run of people. But the disciples don’t speak. Are they afraid? Perhaps. Are they ignorant? Probably.
Finally, Simon Peter speaks: “You are the Christ.” In Matthew’s version of the scene, Peter says, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” This is the mystical faith that stands at the heart of Christianity. To hold this Petrine faith is to be a Christian; to deny it is not to be a Christian.