Lagura: The price of faith in the Lord-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, September 15, 2012
WITH a good guide, pilgrims to Rome have the opportunity to go to a small church south of the Eternal City called the Church of “Domine, Quo Vadis.” (Lord, where are you going?) These were the words St. Peter said to Jesus who appeared to him as the former, very much frustrated at his lack of success in preaching the gospel, left Rome.
Standing on a slab of stone, the Risen Jesus looked at Peter, and the disciple asked, “Quo vadis, Domine?” The Lord reportedly replied, “To Rome, where I will be crucified again.” Peter returned.
In the gospel Jesus asked his disciples who people say that he was. Their answers, dependent on the opinions or images people had of him, varied. When Jesus asked, “But you, who do you think that I am?” Peter, guided by a light from above, replied, “You are the Christ [the Messiah or the Anointed One], the Son of the living God!”(Matthew 16:16) This unexpected response was rewarded with the primacy among the apostles given to Peter. And he would be the “rock” (petrus, cephas) on which the Lord would build his Church.
Peter’s confession of faith, however, had far-reaching implications. No earthly prize awaited his putting all his trust in the Lord. No, Peter had to learn the hard way what his faith in Jesus meant. Disappointingly he was forced to deny the Lord when confronted by a maidservant who asked him whether he, too, like Jesus was from Galilee. Shamefully, Peter’s faith wavered.
Then, when things were getting rough in Rome, Peter packed his things and turned his back. Only the vision from the Risen Lord who told him he was going to Rome for another crucifixion made Peter return. Like Jesus on whom he placed his faith, Peter too was crucified: his with head pointing earthwards, his feet to heaven.
Pilgrims will still see the small church, and if they look patiently around, even the slab of stone where the Lord, as the story goes, left his footprints behind.
For Christians in Rome, public humiliation, abandonment by members of one’s own family, imprisonment, loss of property and even death - painful death at that - was the steep price for their faith in Jesus. Many paid in full. And gladly.
Today as states become more and more secular, and with its secularization, they show not only apathy but even hostility to Christianity, to profess one’s faith in Jesus and to express it in one’s life, even in public, demands a price. Are we up to the challenge? Faith’s reward is not in riches, ease or pleasure. Rather, it is to be counted as Christ’s servant and friend.
“Along the way Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ They answered him: John the Baptist, others ‘Elijah,’ still others ‘one of the prophets.’
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 16, 2012.