By Rhonda Zweber
Today’s gospel reading (Luke 9:18-24) is a short one, but it is very impactful. The one question Jesus asks—“But who do you say that I am?”—speaks volumes all by itself.
Everyone has their own version of who Jesus is in their lives. The disciples shared who Jesus was to some people: Elijah or John the Baptist.
For some people, Jesus is the absolute foundation of their lives. For some, He is a temporary fix when something goes wrong. And unfortunately for some, Jesus is nowhere to be found (it’s not that He isn’t there, but He isn’t being searched for).
I have been in all three of these stages throughout my life. Although I was raised Catholic, the only presence I had of Jesus in my life was at Sunday Mass and before meals, when my family would give thanks for the food before us. But even then, I was basically reciting the prayer without giving it much thought.
I had a pretty unremarkable childhood and young adulthood with very little occasion to seek Jesus for help, but I’m sure I cried out to Him at times, begging Him to fix whatever crisis I was going through.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with cancer that my heart opened and I knew I needed to take up my cross and follow Jesus. He had been working on me for many years, and He never gave up on me. Nine years later, my relationship with Jesus is the foundation of my life. I try to include Him in every decision I need to make. I try to trust Him in every situation that He places before me.
I say that I “try,” because I am human, and our humanness causes us to fail at times.
Imagine your life like a kite, floating along with the blue sky as your backdrop, with no obstacles in your way. These are times when it’s easy to trust in God’s plan for us. When the gust of wind (the tragedy, the illness) causes our kite to crash into the branches of a tree and get completely tangled, we question, “Where is God?” or “Why is this happening?”
The instinct to wonder, question, or even doubt is a natural feeling. It’s what we do next that is vital to our faith.
If our faith is based on our goal to follow Jesus and serve Him so we may spend eternity with Him, our next step would be to assess the damage of the kite. We would decide whether to climb the tree and randomly cut the string of the kite and throw the whole thing away, or to take the time to snip the string, slowly and deliberately, being very careful not to damage the kite. The kite itself is still in perfect condition; it’s just the string that needs a little help.
Our lives are perfect in God’s eyes; we just need a little trimming here and there. We need to make a few changes in our lives in order for us to make it to Heaven. Those are the tangled parts of the string of the kite. Eliminate the areas in our lives that do not allow us to follow Jesus. Trim those tangled areas of the string and throw them away! Attach a new string to the kite, and let it soar again!
Depending on who you say Jesus is will determine what you do with your kite. If you know Jesus and have a close relationship with Him, you will climb that tree and handle the kite with much care. If you call on Him only when tragedy strikes, you may climb the tree and rip the kite and string out of the branches, ruining it. If you do not have any relationship with Jesus, you may just walk away from the kite, leaving it in the tree, not realizing that the kite is still in perfect condition.
So, who do you say Jesus is?
About the Author:
Rhonda Zweber and her husband of 23 years have three beautiful daughters. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Rhonda’s faith began to grow and she created the Pink Prayer Warriors ministry at her parish, St. Michael Catholic Church in Prior Lake, MN, to support and pray for other cancer warriors. When her cancer returned, her faith and trust in God’s plan for her gave her the motivation to share her journey with others. She is currently working on her second book, which documents her faith journey through cancer. Her first book, Mommy’s Hats, is her cancer story through the eyes of her youngest daughter. Rhonda has created her own blog, Relax in His Love, and you can email her at relaxinHislove@gmail.com.