Whenever I try to recall how I first encountered Jesus, I find it hard to do so. I do remember when, as a kid, my father used to show and read to me a magazine about Jesus. It had some illustrations and dialogue taken directly from the Gospel. But when exactly did I come to faith in Jesus? I cannot pinpoint one event. It was a slow, gradual, and difficult journey which until now I continue to walk.
There were moments when I questioned the existence of God. There were also moments when I treated Him like a genie who would simply grant my every wish. There were times when I even doubted the authenticity of Catholicism because of the existence of other Christian denominations. I started my quest for God in those other denominations. They gave me pamphlets, journals, and different translations and versions of the Bible. It is amazing to think that my exposure to other sects served as one of my starting points in knowing about God, which later led me to know Him personally. This also directed me towards the discovery of the hidden mysteries and treasures of Catholicism.
In the Gospel, I find it paradoxical that Jesus praised Peter for recognizing Him as the Messiah, but then later rebuked and called him Satan for being an obstacle to God’s plan. This invites us to reflect on how deeply we know God. There are times when I thought I already knew God. Yet, even after reading numerous books about Jesus or studying Christology, I believe that one can never fully comprehend who He is. Knowing Jesus is not the same as knowing about Jesus. It transcends our intellect because flesh and blood have not revealed this to us, but the Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit. It is a mysterious gift to know Jesus and an unfathomable truth that only faith can affirm.
By: Sem. Jose A. Cordova
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
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.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
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.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”