"Who do you say that I am?" (Luke 9:20).
How we answer this question so central to the gospels will determine everything else. The scene in which Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" is repeated in all three synoptic gospels, and in the fourth gospel, the crucial "I AM" in the question becomes the answer, that Jesus is somehow linked to the divine name revealed to Moses in the burning bush story in the Book of Exodus.
Those who say Jesus was a prophet, a great historical figure, a revolutionary or a social reformer will have only his memory to inspire them. Those who say we cannot really know the real Jesus behind the church's theological interpretation will have a question to explore in books that already fill countless libraries and that has launched thousands of doctoral theses and fueled as many scholarly symposia.
But those who say that Jesus is the Incarnation, the divine Person who shares fully our human nature, the Son of God and the pioneer of our salvation, have a whole different path to follow and commitment to make. They begin with an act of faith that leads to a personal relationship with the risen Christ, alive and active in the world.
The Jesus we celebrate in the liturgy today is asking us the same question he once asked his first disciples: "Who do you say that I am?" If we are bold in faith and ready to accompany him by embracing the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection in our lives, we will share in the mission of love and reconciliation he revealed that day in Caesarea Philippi.