You Know Who Jesus Is, But Who Are You?

2023년 8월 27일

You Know Who Jesus Is, But Who Are You?

<  Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time >

              In 1989 I visited North Korea with Fr. Paul Mun. I went as a reporter for MARYKNOLL magazine; Fr. Mun went on behalf of South Korean Priest Association for Reunification. Our visit caused quite a stir in South Korea, where newspapers identified me as Fr. Veneroso, the name the North Koreans used because Bae Shin Bu sounded like Department of Treason. When I returned to South Korea, the Korean CIA followed me everywhere. But when I got to Masan, where I served as pastor for four years, the local police captain came to the rectory where I was staying. He and I had been drinking buddies back in the day. He greeted me by my Korean name. “배신부님 오셨군요! 배네로소 신부님과 같이 오셨읍니까?“ When I told him 배종섭 신부 and Fr. Veneroso were the same person (me!), he was surprised. “I’m supposed to follow you around?” he asked. “If you’d like,” I said. “Have a nice visit,” he said with a smile and left.

Today’s gospel asks us who Jesus is to us. We know the answers: Lord, Savior, Master, Son of God. It’s what we learned in Sunday school. But today I want you to think about who you are to Jesus. How does God look at you? If you think Jesus sees you only as a sinner, you’re missing the message. If we should sin, as we surely will, God does not love us less. We are the reason God came to earth: to show us he loves us no matter what. When we sin it’s because we forget not only who God is, but we forget who we are. We are precious children of God. Nothing can ever change that. He knows each of us by name. He forgives us, smiles on us, and blesses each of us with the gift of love and grace—no matter what. All we have to do is accept–and live–this truth.