Jesus said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" This was the question Jesus asked his disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi as we heard in today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Matthew 16:13-20. The disciples of Jesus have been with him for quite some time now and as they passed by the region of Caesarea Philippi, (an ancient Roman city located at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon adjacent to a spring, grotto, and related shrines dedicated to the Greek god Pan and others gods), he wanted to know if they really knew who he was, so he asked them that question. With their silence, one can tell they did not know who he was until Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father."

So who do you think Jesus is or who is Jesus to you? We seem to know a lot of biblical and empirical facts about Jesus Christ, but how well do we know him on a personal and spiritual level. The answer of Saint Peter in today’s gospel reading "you are the Christ, the Son of the living God" reminds us of who Jesus should be in our lives as Christians. His answer emphasizes that Jesus being the Christ is our REDEEMER and our SAVIOR. This same answer also reminds us that Jesus being the Son of the living God truly LOVES us, CARES for us and BLESSES us. By his death on the cross, Jesus redeemed and saved us from a life of sin and from the devil to newness of life in him. How appreciative are we to God for our redemption and salvation? How often do we recognize and acknowledge what Jesus has done for us by dying on the cross? By being the Son of the living God, Jesus loves us, cares for us and blesses us. Do we value and cherish Jesus’s love, care and blessings to us? We complain often about everything that goes wrong in our life and how God does not answer our prayers, but how grateful are we to Him for all the good things he does in our life? Do we even know that God truly loves us that he sent his only begotten Son to take our human form, suffer and die a shameful death on the cross for us? Do we pay attention to how much God cares for us as he forgives us our sins, guides us, protects us and continually blesses us with his mercies, graces and blessings?

My dear brothers and sister, Saint Peter’s with his answer to Jesus in today’s gospel reading "you are the Christ, the Son of the living God" reminds us of the need to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate God’s redemptive role in our lives and his love, care and blessings to us through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord. Amen!