Twelfth Sunday
in Ordinary Time
Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
Galatians 3:26-29
Luke 9:18-24

When we tell the stories of Jesus in the Gospels and embody them in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is present so that we may encounter him and commit ourselves in a free, self-conscious way. Today’s Gospel is a perfect example of how that happens.

We learn today that his disciples followed Jesus with the sort of dogged determination that made it clear that they believed in him. Still Jesus asked “Who do people say that I am?” His disciples told him that some believed he was John the Baptist. Others thought he was Elijah or one of the prophets. This, of course, was only to lead up to the bigger question. Jesus wanted to know who they believed he was. Peter answered for all of them: “The Christ of God.”

Clearly, this was a good answer but not good enough. Jesus needed to be sure that they knew what the answer meant. They had to know that they too would suffer, be rejected and that some of them would even lose their lives if they followed him.

At some time in our lives, the question will be asked of us — “Who do you say that I am?” It is not enough that we can repeat the latest theology or the most popular religious thought. The question is about our relationship with the Lord. It is not what we know about Jesus but, rather, do we know Jesus himself.

That knowledge includes the price we pay for entering into the relationship. As much as those who minister in the Church would like to think that they have greater trials than the rest of the Christian community — we are like all Christians.  We are tried…and sometimes found wanting.

We are very like Jesus’ disciples. We accept and embrace Jesus but our ideas about what that means might be very different from Jesus’ plans.  We have to learn that to follow him is to walk the way of the cross.
Somewhere along the way, each of us hears a word or two about what it costs to be a Christian but we really do not know the price until we are asked to pay it.” One of the reasons that discipleship is not difficult when we first accept Christianity, is that a person has little idea what a relationship with Christ will mean. The promises we make are beyond our comprehension and motivated by the same enthusiasm that brings individuals together.

Today, those who gather at the Eucharist remember that we are called to pay the cost of discipleship. Our presence here is a sign that we the Word of the Lord lives in us. We surrender to the God who has an ultimate right to our very being. For that reason, the church is the place where discipleship remains a possibility.