Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?" They said in reply, "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets." And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"
In the 1930s, a young writer in New York City was struggling to publish a novel. As World War II broke out in Europe, he looked into his own heart as well as the headlines and produced a soul-searching examination of human violence and war. Unfortunately, his novel remained unpublished for years.
The author? Thomas Merton, the most prominent Catholic author of the 20th century. His wartime novel, My Argument with the Gestapo, was finally published years after Merton became a Trappist monk and had written many spiritual books.
Merton’s insight into war and peace are echoed in today’s second reading from the Letter of James. There, the author explores where wars and conflicts originate. He tells us that violence starts from within the human heart. But from God comes the possibility of peace.
Jesus offers us the way to peace in the Gospel today, inviting us to put ourselves last, as servants. Let us “cultivate peace” in our hearts, our communities, our world.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
Isaiah says he accepts persecution of all kind in the first reading. Why does he say these things? Who is his helper?
In the second reading, James argues that one who has faith should do what? Which is better, faith without works or faith that does good works?
What is the question Jesus places before his disciples in this week's Gospel? What are the various answers they give? Who gives the correct answer “You are the Christ.”
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Do you ever wonder how other people see you? Sit down with your family and take turns identifying the qualities that make each of you uniquely you. You might also try this with your friends. Just remember to keep it positive.
Think of ways that you can manifest Jesus' call to follow him. Then find some ways to do just that. For instance, volunteer somewhere and give of your time to help others. You can either do this by yourself, with your family, or a group of your friends.