There was a woman who came to the United States for a lengthy visit with her family and relatives. She was having trouble with her eyesight, so her family members took her to their eye doctor for an examination. The doctor showed her the standard eye chart displaying the letters C V K P W X S C Z Y. He then asked if she could read the chart. “Read it? The woman replied. “Back home she's my next-door neighbor!”
We sometimes misread situations. That's why in today's Gospel Jesus asks his disciples this very pointed question: “Who do you say that I am?” In a sense he is really asking: “Are you with me?” That's the question we need to answer now as he calls us, looks us in the eye as he did Peter, and says: “Are you with me? Are you really with me?” So right here and now we need to answer that question. We need to have a little chat with Jesus. So with bowed heads, we pray:
“Jesus, you know all things. You know I am with you. You are my best friend and confidant, the keeper of all my secrets. When I fall down, you pick me up, you put me together and you set me back on course. But you know only too well that my attention span is not so good; in fact it leaves much to be desired. Then when I get distracted, I blunder along as if I had never learned anything at all. And you have to start all over again with me...and you do!
“Yet, Jesus, your efforts with me have not been entirely in vain. I feel that spark of your Spirit alive inside me – a spark that keeps telling me to see as you see, to love as you love, to serve others
as you serve others. I think as I get older I am discovering more and more what being your disciple means.
“Jesus, I know at times I've been a disappointment to you. I've often been a disappointment to myself as well. It seems as though there are parts within me that are too dark to look at, too hard to fix. This frightens me no end. But I think I'm ready to give you even those dark parts. I know my deep wounds won't heal in a day, but my healing will never begin if I don't give them to you. So that's my decision. Here they are! Take everything!
“Tomorrow I'll probably want to take them back, or pretend they never existed. But tomorrow's not today. And when tomorrow comes, you'll still be here to encourage and support me all over again, my friend.
“So when you ask me as you asked Peter, “Are you with me?” my answer is yes. I am with you. I am with you more than I was yesterday, and hopefully I will be with you even more tomorrow. I am with you through all the pain and suffering, all the heartaches and disappointments of life, because I know you yourself have already been through it all – and more! And for that, Jesus, I thank you. Amen!”