Holy Land Pilgrimage

Who do you say that I am?

March 1, 2018

By divine revelation, Saint Peter knew that Jesus Christ was neither John the Baptist, nor Elijah, Jeremiah, or other of the prophets of the Old Testament, but the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:13-20). As the Gospel of Matthew affirms, this event of Jesus asking his disciples for the identity of the Son of Man, happens at Caesarea Philippi, a place dedicated to pagan gods. So, being in front of all those pagan gods and lifeless traditions, Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” And now, by divine revelation, by the Tradition of the Church, and by my personal relationship with Christ, I have had the opportunity to be in the same place to internally confess, just as Saint Peter did, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the only Son of the living God. A God who gives and maintains us in life, and who personally gives me life and meaning of life through my priestly vocation.

During my time at Caesarea Philippi, in front of the ruins of what once were pagan temples, I was also able to pray and meditate on Jesus’ reply to Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” And indeed, just as God is full of life and eternal, by God’s grace, our church is full of life and everlasting; our church is not in ruins as Caesarea Philippi is nowadays. The proof of this is that God continues to call men, like myself and my fellow seminarians, to priesthood; indeed, God calls everyone to respond to his calling to love in a specific vocations, and through these specific callings, He invites us to answer continually the same question Jesus asked to his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”

By Jesus Haros (Diocese of Tucson)

Photos by Declan McNicholas (Diocese of Gary) and Peter Pedrasa (Diocese of Tucson)

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