The Pastor's Corner (Feb. 17, 2023)

The Pastor's Corner

by Fr. Bob Hoffman

If we believe something, a valid follow-up to our statement of belief becomes, “So, what?” As a non-biblical example, if we believe in our school, are interested in seeing it succeed, want good classmates for our children, the question is still, “So what?” In what ways are we willing to work toward those things, Are we actively spreading the great story of the school and the generosity of state scholarships that make it free for most? Are we putting good reviews online for others to see? 

In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus and his disciples walk toward Caesarea Philippi. Along the way, he asks them, “Who do people say that I am?”

What Jesus says is very profound. His teachings are so important for us to know. However, what Jesus says only matters because of who Jesus is.

Catholics understand that Jesus is God Incarnate. He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. So, he is truly God. But he has taken on a human nature. So, he is also man. In his one Person, he is both fully divine and fully human. That teaching was formally defined at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. 

As with other councils, the Church began after the end of the Roman persecutions to hold these councils that helped to refine the Church’s understanding of many things, most especially who Jesus Christ is and who the Holy Trinity is. Such councils were too risky, or even impossible, during the Roman persecutions.

Other religions might point to a holy founder. And what they say might be important to their faith. But Christianity says that God came to earth in human form. It is not just what he says that is important. Firstly, what is most important is who Jesus Christ is.

And we know that Jesus Christ is God because he says that he is. The only three alternatives are that he is lying, that he is delusional, or that he is who says he is. If he is lying, how do the Apostles go to the their death rather than deny the truth of what he said?  At least one or more would know that it was all a lie. Same thing if he was delusional. At least some of those closest to him would recognize the delusion. The only logical conclusion then is that he is who says that he is.

The real question for us then becomes, “So what?”