Eucharistic Reflection: Who do you say that I am?

by Diocese of Des Moines | October 4, 2021

Eucharistic adoration

Who do you say that I am?

Excerpts from Homily of Pope Francis

Concluding Mass of 52nd Eucharistic Congress

Preached 9/12/21

At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mk 8:29)…

[Our] response renews us as disciples. It takes place in three steps, steps that the disciples took and that we too can take. It involves first, proclaiming Jesus; second, discerning with Jesus and third, following Jesus…

[The third step] Walking behind Jesus and also walking with Jesus. “Get behind me, Satan” (v. 33). With this stern command, Jesus brings Peter back to himself. Whenever the Lord commands something, he is already there to give it. Peter thus receives the grace to step back and once more get behind Jesus. The Christian journey is not a race towards “success”; it begins by stepping back – remember this: the Christian journey begins by stepping back – finding freedom by not needing to be at the center of everything. Peter realizes that the center is not his Jesus, but the real Jesus. He will keep falling, but in passing from forgiveness to forgiveness, he will come to see more clearly the face of God. And he will pass from an empty admiration for Christ to an authentic imitation of Christ.

What does it mean to get behind Jesus? It is to advance through life with Jesus’ own confident trust, knowing that we are beloved children of God. It is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who came to serve and not be served (cf. Mk 10:45). It is to step out each day to an encounter with our brothers and sisters. The Eucharist impels us to this encounter, to the realization that we are one Body, to the willingness to let ourselves be broken for others. Dear brothers and sisters, let us allow our encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist to transform us, just as it transformed the great and courageous saints you venerate. I am thinking in particular of Saint Stephen and Saint Elizabeth. Like them, may we never be satisfied with little; may we never resign ourselves to a faith based on ritual and repetition, but be ever more open to the scandalous newness of the crucified and risen God, the Bread broken to give life to the world. In this way, we will be joyful ourselves and bring joy to others…

For walking behind Jesus means always looking ahead, welcoming the kairos of grace, and being challenged every day by the Lord’s question to each of us, his disciples: Who do you say that I am?

Reflection Questions:

  • In my life of discipleship, am I passing from an “admiration for Christ to an authentic imitation of Christ”?
  • How is Jesus inviting me to “be broken for others”?

Petitionary Prayers:

  • For the grace to “step back” and place Jesus at the center of all we do, we pray…
  • That in our desire for Eucharistic renewal, we might “never be satisfied with little” but instead we may “be ever more open to the scandalous newness of the crucified and risen God”, we pray…
  • May we be joyful disciples, and bring joy to others, we pray… 
Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.