In today’s Gospel from St. Mark, Jesus asks his disciples two questions. He first asks them, “Who do people say I am?” When they respond that some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others, one of the prophets, Jesus follows up with, “But who do you say that I am?”
In her book In Search of Belief, Joan Chittister makes reference to these questions in talking about what it means to proclaim her belief in Jesus Christ. She writes that the first question “opens up the kind of faith-sharing that brings me into the insights of the rest of humanity about the place of Jesus in the human condition and the divine economy.” The second question, however, “is the one meant for me that no one but I can answer…. It is that question that each of us must face sometime in life. And it is that Jesus who captivates me completely.”
Chittister goes on to answer who the Jesus is that she believes in, writinh
I believe in the Jesus who fed five thousand simply because they were hungry. Not because they deserved it. Many in the crowd on the hillside in the heat of the day had been foolish, I’m sure: They had brought nothing of their own with them to eat. They had made no provisions for the future. They had not been frugal, not been responsible enough to take care of themselves. But Jesus feeds them regardless. He does not ask to see their salary statements or their bank accounts to determine a degree of acceptable destitution. He does not scold them or berates them or lectures at them. He simply gives them what he sees at that moment that they need.
But that, of course, is simply her answer, helpful to us in the sense that hearing others’ faith-sharing is helpful to us.
The important question, of course, is: Who do you say Jesus is? Only you can answer that question.