Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle
1 PT 5: 1-4
PS 23: 1-3A, 4, 5, 6
MT 16: 13-19
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.”
A few weeks ago, I was at a training event for my upcoming race. As I was pulling my bike out of my car to get ready for the ride, I overheard my coach telling another woman that my name was Beth and I worked at SLU. As the ride progressed I found myself spinning side by side with the woman and our conversation immediately began with her asking me about the courses I taught and my research focus.
While it did not strike my initially as odd, it left me with a strange feeling afterward. Here I was meeting someone for the first time- someone who shares my passion for triathlons- someone whose family supports her spending countless hours training, like mine does- and yet the first conversation we have is focused on the meaning behind the titles that we hold from our careers.
It begs the question: how often do we introduce ourselves by our careers and work? Hi, my name is ________, I am a __________(professor/student/doctor/lawyer/administrator).
“But who do you say that I am?”
Arguably, Jesus is not looking for clarification on his job title or possible upcoming promotion. Jesus could have easily insisted on being referred to as the Master, Teacher, Lord, Messiah, or King.
Instead, Jesus wanted his disciples to understand who he is in the context of his relationships with others. He is the Son of the living God. He further emphasizes this by addressing Simon Peter in a similar way as Simon son of Jonah.
Rather than using titles that potentially push people away, such as Master or King (How can I possibly build a relationship with someone as high and mighty as that?) Jesus uses an introduction that we can all relate to. He is someone’s son.
As human beings called into relationship with one another, why do we not introduce ourselves that way? The titles that come with our careers say nothing about our families, passions, personalities and beliefs.
Who do people say that you are? Who do you say that you are?
Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Traveler, Triathlete, Child of God
(Also, Director of Global Health and Interim Director of Pre-Health and Pre-Law Studies)