When we were still in our teenage years, experiencing anxieties and uncertainties were common, mostly due to unnecessary worries about our future. We want to get things done fast, in our curiosity to know who we will eventually become. We want to finish school in a hurry, do business or get employment fast, as we’re impatient to be somebody, someday. We’re living in a culture of speed and impatience that we want all things to happen in a snap of a finger.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples what he is to others. The disciples replied,
“Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Mt. 16: 13b-15)
Then Jesus asks his disciples who they believe that he is. Simon Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (v. 16) Jesus commends Simon Peter for this declaration of faith, telling him “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” Then Jesus calls him the “rock” upon which the Church will be built. This bold admission of Peter’s faith in Jesus set the tone for his role, one that is for his leadership in God’s Church, literally the first among the disciples.
Each of us has a unique role in the mission of Our Lord Jesus and His Church. We may not be as prominent as Peter who became the first among a long line of popes, but our role is both unique and necessary to God’s plan for humanity. We are all pieces of the God’s complex jigsaw; though each of us may feel irrelevant and small, but really uniquely essential.
Peter’s understanding of his mission may have been so vague and unclear on the day Jesus told him he was to be the foundation on which the Lord would build his Church. It must have taken many years for Peter to develop some understanding of those words. Yet as the Church grew, Peter fulfilled his mission patiently by doing the tasks that prayer and discernment revealed him day-by-day. He was not told everything at the start, yet his trust and faith in the Savior opened up the tasks that he must fulfill as the leader of God’s Church.
How about us? Have we understood our role in God’s plan for the world? Like Peter, we should ask Jesus in prayer and in faith, every day, to help us fulfill our part of His mission. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through the daily events of our lives to slowly reveal to us what we have been called for. Our assignment is part of our uniqueness as a person, hence we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others. When we know what we’re tasked to do, we will experience deep fulfillment and inner peace, which only comes from submission to His will for our lives.
“Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Ps. 138 : 8bc)