Dad Was Born a Catholic, But He Eventually Fell Away Until Mom Became Catholic
By Father John Slampak, STL

While it was not on the Internet, nor offered as a text-message on a fashionable Blackberry, or even a political question at first, according to the Scriptures, Jesus conducted his own opinion poll a sort of scriptural Zogby poll. He wanted to find out what his disciples believed about him.

“Who do people say that I am?”

All of the disciples were asked to report on what others were saying about Jesus. They were not expecting to be asked their own personal opinion. Jesus was not interested in measuring his popularity nor looking for an index of how he was regarded by the people. His purpose was entirely different.

His destination is toward the cross, so he asked, “But who do you say that I am?”

They are caught completely off guard by the question. All of the disciples had responded to the first question, but only one person, Simon Peter, responded to the second question, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

To answer the first question, it was only necessary to look around, and to listen to peoples’ opinions. But, to answer the second question, it was necessary to look inside, to listen to a completely different voice, a voice that was not of flesh and blood, but of the Father in heaven.

“Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

One reason to tell no one: the people had a misguided understanding of what it meant to call Jesus, the Christ, Messiah. They were thinking in political terms of how they would be free from the tyranny of government control.

A second reason Jesus told them to tell no one was that they were not yet ready to bear the burden, or face the consequences of confessing their belief in Jesus and sharing it with others. Peter got the answer right but he didn’t understand that he needed time to grow into it. He did not yet understand that the Messiah had to suffer and would even call His followers to bear a cross.

Remember that Peter eventually will go from, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” to the words, “I don’t even know the man!”

How many times do you say the right words but have very little idea what those words will mean for you?

One day a young man who wanted to change his life, went into a church, and sat down near the sanctuary. He took out a piece of paper and pen and began writing down a long list of things that he promised he would do to change his life. He signed his name at the bottom, took it up and placed it on the altar, and sat down again near the sanctuary.

As he was sitting there, he began to sense the voice of God speaking softly in his own soul. And the more he listened to it, the more he heard God saying to him, “You’ve done it all wrong. I want you to go back up there, get the piece of paper, and tear it up. And then I’ll give you another instruction.”

The young man walked up to the altar, did as the Lord told him, and then returned to wait for the Lord to instruct him. It did not happen immediately, but finally the message came through.

The Lord said to him, very gently, “Now take a piece of paper, sign your name to it at the bottom, and let me fill in all the rest.”