I wonder how I would respond if it were Saint Peter in today’s Gospel. Perhaps I would have said that Jesus was my God, my Savior, my brother, my best friend, or various other things.
But Peter listened to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and answered that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered that it was God Himself who had revealed this truth to Peter.
How do you answer today? You might repeat phrases you learned in school or from catechism teachers. But if you enter into the silence of your heart, what words might come to you? It is a good time to ask yourself if you have a personal relationship with Jesus, could answer that there is something special between you and Jesus? We hear so many times that holiness consists in having a relationship with God, but this relationship does not exist by itself. It develops as we offer Him time and effort. It was only after years that Peter was able to answer with such sincerity. Have you put enough effort into your relationship with Jesus?
If not, pray every day, "Lord, restore or strengthen the faith that I have in you." If you don't have a regular prayer time, ask God to give you the discipline to devote 15 minutes a day to it. Read the Mass readings for the day. We have them in the bulletin. Make a decision about how to live for this day in your life: an attitude you need to change; asking someone for forgiveness or forgiving someone else; a new way of serving others in the family; a new approach to your co-workers. Try it! You might begin to experience a new joy, even in the routine of daily life, a joy that is a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Choose three opportunities during the day to decide, even for a moment, to turn your heart to Jesus, to remember what you decided earlier: to tell Jesus that you love him and want to love him more. Remember, it takes time and patience to build a new habit like prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus. Don't give up!
Fr. Mark Zacker