“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked.
The honor student in me is screaming, “NO FAIR – TRICK QUESTION!” but the rest of me is saying, “I need some time to answer that one. Let me get back to you.”
That was almost ten days ago. I’ve been stalling, trying not to think about it ever since I heard this reading at Mass. I know I don’t have a good answer, or perhaps more accurately, it’s not the answer I think it should be. Not the answer I think Jesus is looking for from me. How very arrogant of me to try to read into his asking of that question. My other reason for stalling – I see an inherent dilemma in answering. If I define who Jesus is to me, it leads me to question, “Who am I to Jesus?” and that is both a humbling and frightening question to ask. It also leads me to question my as-yet-barely -formed answer, asking, “Is this who I say that Jesus IS or who I say that I WANT him to be?”
My thus far feeble attempts: Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Jesus is the salvation of the world. Am I wrong? No. Am I right? Yes – but…
Jesus is looking for more than Sunday School lip service on this one. He isn’t offering me a sermon opportunity. This is a personal question – one friend to another. Wait a minute. I think I just found my answer. My friend. The one who listens patiently to my daily dramas and tirades when even my therapist is throwing up his hands in exasperation. The Jesus I know isn’t the one who looks half-sick in most paintings. The Jesus I know has a big friendly smile on his face and his arms open waiting to give me a big bear hug. No, that’s not quite right either. That’s the Jesus I want to know. The smiling listener, I know. The hugger? That’s the Jesus I want to know but there’s still some part of me that’s holding back. I don’t know why and that saddens and frustrates me. Thankfully, I know Jesus is more patient than I am. He’s willing to wait while I work up to bear hugs.
That still leads me back to my other question. “Who am I to Jesus?” I am his Beloved. His Darling. His Princess. He loves me even though I can’t fully accept it yet, just the way I am right now. Right now being defined as sitting in front of my laptop with tears of frustration streaming down my face because I know he loves me and I know I’m holding myself back for reasons I have yet to understand.
So now I pass the question on to you my dear reader:
Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?”
What will you answer?