XII Ordinary Sunday

They will look at me, whom they pierced

Zec 12:10-11;13:1

This Sunday's Gospel the Word of God offers us the opportunity to complete the Face of God and discover the secret of the Kingdom of Heaven.


Who dicen that I am?"  With this question Jesus wants to know if his disciples share the world's mentality about God or have a different idea: "And you, who do you say I am?"


Peter's answer is, "God's Messiah." Peter does not see Jesus as a mere political leader, but as the political savior commanded by God. "Messiah," meaning "anointed," was the title of the kings of Israel and Judah, as they were not crowned but "anointed" by pouring oil on their heads. The monarchy disappeared in the sixth century BC.C., but in the II-I centuries BC.C., the hope of a monarchical restoration spread, and the image of an ideal future king, of a MESSIAH with a capital letter, was acquiring more and more strength. Solomon's Psalms describe him liberating Jerusalem from the Romans, purifying it of sinners, establishing a just government, and extending his dominion to all nations. A king who does not trust horses, riders or bows, does not treasure gold and silver for war, is cleansed of sin to rule a great people. In this context, Peter's confession is of enormous importance and novelty. 


But Jesus does not share the enthusiasm and political, nationalist and triumphalist conception that can be intuited in Peter's words. He does not want the title messiah to be used, to avoid misunderstandings. He prefers to speak of himself as "the Son of Man."


What is important for Jesus is not the title that is applied to him, but his destiny. The "messiah" has to suffer, be rejected and killed. Rejection is given by elders , high priests and  scribes. The "elders" hold political power; priests, religious power; the scribes, the intellectual. It is probably the only case in history in which the three powers have agreed to reject and sentence a person to death. But Jesus knows that the last word is not theirs, but God, who will raise him up. 


The question of who is the teacher for his disciples, give Jesus the opportunity to show them what their destiny is and thus show the true Face of God and discover the secret of the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus is not a politician who tries to win people over with false promises. He makes it very clear that going with him means denying himself, carrying the cross every day.


These words are best understood in the context of the first century, when Christians are being persecuted and sometimes condemned to death. And in many countries in Africa and Asia today, where it is not strange that a bomb explodes in the church. Then what Jesus says makes full sense: "Whoever loses his life for my sake will save her."


Will anyone be willing to follow Jesus, to carry the cross every day? Twenty centuries prove that it does. And this is not explained only by personal decision but as the first reading states: I will pour out a spirit of piety and compassion and they will turn their eyes to me. It is the fruit of a change that God operates in us as we contemplate Christ crucified. Faced with the three groups of power that reject and condemn Jesus, there are many more who convert, mourn, and find a spring that cleanses them of sins and impurities. 


Today there are also many who reject the proposal of Jesus, before the eyes of the world, Jesus Crucified is a scandalous failure. But Jesus crucified is the strength and wisdom of God.


Let us ask God to teach us to complete Jesus, and Jesus Christ crucified. He is the man who by living in love and truth was overcome, by religious power, by political power and by intellectual power. 


Let's ask ourselves this double question: What do I seek in my life: to be recognized and to have fame at any price? Or do I prefer to live in the truth and love proposed by the Gospel?

+Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez

Archbishop of Durango

OMCC Ecclesiastical Advisor