Jesus IS…for ME

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Pastoral Letter

Diocese of Timmins – 2011-2012

 Jesus IS…for ME

†Bishop Paul Marchand, S.M.M.

Bishop of Timmins

 

This year our diocesan pastoral priority seeks to lead us deep within ourselves, because it is from there, that the

question Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 16: 13-17 must be answered.

 

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But

what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the

living God.

 

”It is right to ask what others think of us. Although, it’s often easier to repeat what others think of us than

to reveal our own thoughts on the matter. What the majority thinks; should be the truth?!!

 

This year the diocesan pastoral priority invites us to say what “I” think about Jesus and not what others think or

what others have told me to think.

It goes much further.

 

A.In the Gospel:

One day, Jesus was walking in the region of Caesarea and he asked his disciples this question. He proceeded in two steps.

He started with the easiest one: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Mt 16:13) “Who do the crowds say I am?”

 (Lk 9:18)

 

It’s always easier to relate what others think than to give a personal opinion. The disciples answer that for people, Jesus is

John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or another of the prophets of the past who has come back to life.

 

That brings him to his second, most important and crucial question: “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers him: “You are

the Messiah.”(Mk 8:29) “God’s Messiah.” (Lk 9:20) “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Mt 16:15)

Peter didn’t say: For me, you’re handsome, you’re nice, you’re kind, you’re well-spoken, you present yourself well, you’re

a good leader …Peter’s answer came from the heart, it came from faith. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living

God”; that is to say the one who has an unparalleled filial relationship with God, the one to whom was entrusted a

mission without equal for the salvation of the world. Peter was able to give such a straight and clear answer about

Jesus because he had the benefit of divine revelation.

 

One person can be very important for another person and less important for me. What importance does Jesus have for me?

 Does he have a place in my thoughts?

 

Does he have a place in my heart?

 

Does he have a place in my prayers?

 

Does he have a place in plans for my life?

 

Does he have a place in my relationships with others?

 

Does he have a place in my way of facing life after death?

 

“Who do you say I am?”

 

+ Bishop Paul Marchand, S.M.M.

Bishop of Timmins

July 2011

(Unfinished draft of his pastoral letter printed, posthumously, September 1, 2011)