Who do you say I am? - Twelfth Sunday in ordinary Time (C) - Commissioning of WYD Pilgrims

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > Who do you say I am? - Twelfth Sunday in ordinary Time (C) - Commissioning of WYD Pilgrims


Who do you say I am?
This question echoes down through the centuries. It is a question that is asked to each one of us. Imagine for a moment Jesus standing before you and putting this question to you, just as he put it to the disciples. It is not a question about what other people think – who do people say I am? – but a question directed immediately to each of us.

We can be tempted to avoid the question. We can say what other people think. But the Lord zeroes in on us, each of us personally, and asks gently but firmly: who do you say I am?

Asked that question tonight how would we answer? Take a moment to make your personal response – not to others, not to your friends, not to your family - but to the Lord himself – standing before you: Who do you say I am?

Now remember your answer.

Let’s look at some possible answers.

We know what Peter said, and maybe this was our answer too – “you are the Christ of God”. You are the Christ means you are the anointed one, you are the Messiah. For Peter as a Jew this was a very important answer and carried great significance.

Maybe you said, you are the Son of God. This would be our equivalent to what St Peter said. We acknowledge the divinity of Christ. He is more than a great man, even a prophet. He is God Himself incarnate.

Maybe you answered – you are my Lord. This is like what Thomas said when the risen Christ appeared to him: you are my Lord and God. This was a great act of personal faith. It is acknowledging that Jesus is God and worthy of our total submission. We believe so totally in him that we place our whole lives under his guidance.

Maybe you used another of the titles of Jesus common in the Scriptures:
• You are the Good Shepherd
• You are the Bread of Life
• You are the Light of the world
• You are the Way, the Truth and the Life
• You are the saviour of the world

All these titles found in the Scriptures carry rich significance and can have important personal meaning to us. For example, we have known Jesus in our life as a good shepherd who has lovingly guided us. We identify with Jesus as the light of the world because we have discovered how his teaching has enlightened and taught us. Or we can say with deep conviction he is my saviour, because we have come to understand profoundly the meaning of his death on the cross.

Perhaps there was another way in which we chose to answer this question.

Or maybe tonight we struggled to give words to how we see Jesus in our life. Maybe we felt others, even others around us, were able to do something that we could not do.

Maybe we felt him more a distant figure whom many deeply believe in but we are not so sure of. Maybe right now we are struggling with our faith. Maybe we feel we are just hanging in. We are just uncertain of what Jesus does actually mean to us. Maybe we find ourselves saying that we wish we did know Jesus like others seem to do, but we just don’t.

This question of Jesus goes to the heart of our faith. If someone is struggling to answer it take time in the Mass tonight to ask Jesus to reveal himself to you as he did to Thomas who doubted. This prayer will be answered.


Tonight at this Mass we are commissioning pilgrims who will be going to WYD from Tasmania. There were others commissioned in Launceston last night.

I would like to reflect briefly about the notion of pilgrimage. WYD is about pilgrimage. Every three years the pope invites young people to meet with him in a particular location somewhere around the world. This year it is in Krakow in Poland.

The city of Krakow has some very important spiritual associations. It was the diocese into which Fr Karol Wojtyla was ordained as a priest in 1946. He became an auxiliary bishop of Krakow in 1958 and then its Archbishop in 1963. From there he become pope in 1978, taking the name John Paul.

It is also the city where the Lord appeared to a nun of the Sisters of Mercy, named Sr Faustina, in 1931. He spoke to her about Divine Mercy and asked her to promote devotion to the Divine Mercy. He asked her to have a painting made of the revelation that she beheld.

So we are on a journey to a place of great spiritual significance for Catholics. We are not going as tourists, but as pilgrims, because a pilgrim is one who undertakes a journey for spiritual purposes.

As pilgrims we are on a spiritual quest. We are going to visit a number of spiritual places. We are going to take part in some extraordinary spiritual events, like the vigil and final Mass with Pope Francis, along with two to three million other pilgrims.

A pilgrim keeps the spiritual purpose in their heart as they undertake their journey. It is a special moment of grace in which we can take our own personal spiritual needs to these spiritual places and events.

Tonight I invite you to consider what your personal spiritual purpose in going to the WYD in Krakow is going to be.

• Maybe it is your desire to grow stronger in your faith
• Maybe it is, in the light of the Gospel question tonight, to seek out who Jesus is for you.
• Maybe it is discover your Catholic identity more clearly
• Maybe it is to seek God’s direction for your life
• Maybe it is to seek a special grace particular to you at this time.

I invite you tonight to identify your spiritual purpose. Keep this spiritual goal with you. Maybe write it down in your diary to remind you.

Tonight you are to be commissioned so that you are going to WYD in Poland as a pilgrim under the guidance and blessing of God.

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Saturday, 18 June 2016