|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Do People Say We Are?
Sunday, June 19, 2016
The month of June marks the end of our fiscal year as a parish and as a diocese. It is the time of year when we do performance evaluations with our staff. The process is similar with any organization. We evaluate ourselves and then sit down with our supervisor and dialogue on areas where we need to grow and areas of affirmation.
Today’s Gospel is not quite an evaluation of Jesus’ ministry but there are the components of an evaluation and self-awareness. He asks the question, “What do all the people out there have to say about me?” And he says, “And what do you say about me?” Jesus knew who he was; he wasn’t asking the disciples to see if they knew so that he could find out. He was asking them so they would know the truth and to come to that realization in their own lives.
If we take a look at our lives, we would do well to complete a performance evaluation of our life as a Christian. We all know the commandment of Christ: to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To love is to be kind, to be gentle, to be forgiving, etc. How well do we do with our goal of being a Christian?
Then ask, “Who do others say that we are?” Are we easy to live with because we are so patient, kind and gentle? How do you experience me in day-to-day life? Will our spouse say that we are kind and gentle? Will our elderly parent, whom we go to visit and take care of, will they think that we are kind, considerate and thoughtful? Do our children find that we are gentle and patient?
Today’s Gospel goes one step further by asking, “If you want to be a disciple of mine, then you need to take up your cross and follow me.” And he demonstrates what he means–it is about self-sacrificing love. It would be helpful for us to do a performance evaluation of ourselves and to ask those closest to us, or our children and our parents.
As as a family, “Who do others say that we are as a family?” For example, “What are the McGuire’s known for outside the family?” “How would people perceive us?” Have that conversation over dinner tonight. See what you think others might say about you as a family, and ask how would they come to know that? How would others come to experience you outside of your family?
“What do people say about us as a family of XXX Parish? Who do people say that we are?” Do they know us to be kind, considerate, welcoming, and caring for others? Who do people say that we are, as individuals, as families, and as a community?”