A wise man said, “Never believe any rumors, even if you start them.” Negative rumors spread faster than those that are positive. Chisme continues to be a popular topic of conversation.
Jesus was not interested in rumors, because there were plenty. He was more interested in what His disciples thought about Him. The feedback was not surprising: folks say that you’re John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets. Since Jesus was outstanding in His preaching, known to raise the dead to life, not afraid to challenge the religious authorities—people compared Him with famous personalities. Yet, Jesus did not want to make a name for Himself, but to change hearts. “Who do you say that I am?”—A question that each of us has to answer. Who is Jesus Christ in my life? How has He made a difference in my life? Unlike historical figures who lived and died, Jesus Christ is alive. His mission as the “Christ” continues through His Church. That is why the Church exists—to evangelize—to speak to others about the Good News. The Good News is that we are loved without conditions. The price for our salvation was paid on the cross. Difficult to believe when we know that we are unworthy. The longer our list of sins is, the more reluctant we are to believe. “Freebies” are few and far between. Usually we have suspicions—there must be “catch”. What’s the “catch” in unconditional love? What does God expect in return? For starters, God does not need us, we need Him. God invented us to share His happiness, but not because He needed us. Everything is gift, particularly our salvation. The Lord does not expect us to pay Him back, but to love Him. We cannot love someone if we are afraid. If we see God as someone who is tracking our sins, then we will keep our distance.
Jesus came to invite us to come close to Him. That is one reason that He associated with the “unclean” of society. Jesus ate with sinners; forgave the woman caught in adultery; touched the leper. Our Lord never turned anyone away, especially those who were most in need. So who do we say that the Lord is? What is our image of Him? According to the image that we have will determine our relationship with Him. Consider that the more we have suffered, the better we can identify with His great love. Just like Our Lady of Sorrows walked the way of the cross with Her Son, we are invited to take up our cross.
The denial of suffering is satanic. When Peter tried to convince Jesus that He didn’t have to suffer, Jesus called him Satan. The way to life is the cross. For people of faith, the way down is the way up. Our culture labels suffering as bad. Although we do not look to suffer, we know that pain is part of everyone’s life. Death is the beginning of true life with Christ in heaven. Takes faith not to be afraid. The common denominator for all of humanity is death—rich, poor, ignorant or genius—we will all have to die. At the hour of our death we pray that we will answer like St. Peter. “Who do you say that I am?” “You are the Christ.” “You are my Savior.” Meanwhile we practice dying to ourselves by living for others, being a servant, swallowing our pride. That’s the example that Christ gave to us. He is God, Master of the world, Lord of heaven, yet became one of us to show us the way. Our cross is nothing compared to His. Yet, we never have to carry the cross alone. Jesus walks with us, every step.
When we are at our lowest point, when we feel defeated, like there’s no hope—that’s the moment that Jesus can touch our soul. When we are weak, then He can be strong.