Who is Jesus?
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

The lyrics from a musical of my college years have served as a framework for my own spiritual journey:

Day by day, day by day,

Oh dear Lord, three things I pray,

To see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly,

follow Thee more nearly,

Day by day.


Any relationship begins with knowing one another. Such knowledge begins with mere acquaintance and may progress to fellowship and deep friendship. Knowing is an on-going process. People grow and change and therefore knowledge of a person is never a once and for all thing. We cannot even presume that we know a member of our family completely. We make mistakes in relationships when we put people in a box. We are assuming that the person is not growing.

The process of knowing one another better is a process of mutual disclosure and sharing. This necessitates trust. We learn to trust a person who demonstrates trustworthiness. Friendships , professional relationships, and intimate affective bonds grow and develop according to the level of our trust and knowledge of the other.

Even in terms of leadership, the effective leader is one who has earned the trust of his followers. History is full of stories of leaders who have inspired their followers to follow them even to certain death. There was the young General Gregorio del Pilar who with his company of soldiers died to the last man defending Tirad Pass against American forces pursuing General Emilio Aguinaldo, the first Filipino president. There was King Leonidas whose faithful 300 Spartans followed him to the death defending Greek lands against numerically superior Persian forces.

This brings us to this Sunday’s gospel reading. How much do we know Jesus whom we strive to follow? Jesus asks the critical question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk. 8:29). Do we know Him enough to be able to love Him and follow Him? Do we know Him enough to be able to trust His promises? Do we know Him enough to follow Him through thick and thin -- even to the Cross?

We celebrate the Month of Vocation in the Archdiocese of Cotabato every September. The vocation of all the baptized to holiness and the vocation of each person to a particular religious or priestly calling hinges on this growing knowledge of Jesus. When the first discipels heard about Jesus, some were curious enough to go and see Him and ask, “Teacher, where do you live?” (Jn 1:37). Instead of giving them His address, Jesus said, “Come and see” (v. 39).

Jesus’ invitation is for us to know Him better through prayer, reading the Gospel, joining the community of His disciples, and acting according to the culture of the Gospel.

Knowing Jesus more deeply leads to a deeper faith. A deeper faith is a faith that acts, according to James (Ja. 2:17). It is a faith that brings us to respond to the challenge of following Christ more closely.