Thursday of the 18th week in the ordinary time

Theme: Who is Jesus to you?

Today the church celebrates the memorial of St. John Mary Vianney. He was a great confessor, and was known for the long hours he spent in the confessional. In his daily life and pastoral ministry as a priest, it was very clear that the Saint we celebrate today, had a good understanding of who Jesus is to him. It was his knowledge of Jesus that informed his faith and the risks he took for the sake of the gospel; which placed his life in danger.

In the same way Jesus is asking you and I who he is to you? This is very important in our call to discipleship, because it will inform the kind of relationship we will build with God. Jesus means different thing to different people, but the main question today is who Jesus is to you? It was Peter who gave the correct answer and said, ‘you are Christ the son of the living God. Jesus was greatly impressed and proclaimed Peter as the Rock on which the church will be built; and the mandate to forgive sin was also given to him. Jesus warned his disciples not to make his identity known to the people. This is an aspect of Jesus that we need to emulate in our own time. He was always running away from publicity and been glorified by the people. However, in our own time, ministers are more interested in receiving praise and acclamations from their flock, unlike Jesus who ran away from such situations.

A personal experience of who Jesus is to you as a person is very important in our journey of faith. It will give us a deeper understanding of who God is to you as a person. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus also made it very clear that the cross is our identity as Christians and we cannot run away from it. The big question is, how many of us truly understand the fact that the cross is part of the package of Christianity that we have embraced as Christians and children of God. We must always remember that no matter the situation we are passing through at the moment, in the cross is our peace, victory and salvation. Jesus is inviting all of us today to embrace the victory of the cross in our daily life.

It is my prayer that through the intercession of St. John Mary Vianney, may God grant us a proper understanding of our call to discipleship, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.

Memorial of St. John Mary Vianney, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp