The Personal Encounter and The Primacy Vol. 8, No. 14

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An interactive session between the members of the bed briefing house and the moderator on the topic: The Personal Encounter and The Primacy
Venue: Bed briefing house via Whatsapp
Time: 8:30pm
Date: 23rd August 2020
Moderator: Mr. Kingsley Mario Ojobo
Collator: Miss Benita Aniebo

Good day beloved brothers and sisters!
I welcome all of us to today’s Bed briefing session.

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In today’s gospel, Christ asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
The question came as a general question, which they gave general response. I call it the “general encounter”.
Then Christ moved further to ask, “But who do you say that I am?”
This question now gives the apostles the opportunity to define their “personal encounter” with Jesus.
The personal encounter of Simon with Christ made him Peter, the Rock upon which Christ built His Church. Peter became the head of the apostles and received the key to lock and unlock. This same power the Church excises as the magisterium, the Pope with college of Cardinals/Bishops.
Jesus was not joking when he asked such question. So I wish to ask; what was the demanding problem facing Jesus in the gospel of today and why was it a problem?
The problem was how to reveal his identity to those who would take after him in shepherding his Church, when he is no longer on Earth in flesh and blood. His disciples were not able to recognize His real person. Instead, his disciples misunderstood the prophecy about the Messiah.
It’s a problem because, the worst thing that could happen to an authority who wants to establish a new institution is to be misrepresented. So it was necessary to make his identity clearer.
Jesus chose caesarea Philip and not the bigger city, maritima to ask this important question.
What’s the difference between caesarea philipi and caesarea maritima?
Maritima was the bigger and more developed one built by Herod the great in honor of the Roman empire, Caesar Augustus. But the caesarea philipi was outside the domain of Herod and within the area of Philip the Tetrach. It was litered with the temples of Syrian and Greek gods.

How can we identify Jesus and prove our faith in him amidst our cultural and traditional practices? In other words, in the tradition of not marrying an OSU, as Christians, is it right to encourage our brother to marry the young lady that he loves even if she is an OSU?
Ordinarily most people wouldn’t do that but the death of Christ had set free the captive, and He saved all, not some. I will advice them to go ahead as they pray fervently.
(Osus are dedicated to idols and deities. For them to be reintegrated back to the society, a cleansing ought to be done on them as advised by the elders. They disobeyed the rule of “odinani” and hereby cast out of the society to prevent calamities befalling the community. However, as a Christian, which other cleansing is more than the sacrament of baptism which they have or will receive?)
If we try to ask this type of question Jesus asked (who do you say I am?), we might possibly get responses against our will.
So, if people are not comfortable with our way of life and we are convinced we are doing the right thing, should we change it?
There are three kinds of people in our lives as far as this question is concerned. Those who hate whatever we do, those who like whatever we do, and those who are neutral, if you so good they will tell you, if you do bad they will tell you. Though it is good to listen to people’s opinion, we are not bound to be changed by what they say. You might be doing well but some people will only see wrongs, that shouldn’t change your way of life. However, their opinion shouldn’t be neglected, maybe your good was not well presented. We might be doing something right in our eyes and we conclude it’s right in God’s sight but your intentions are not pure or just then some insightful Christians warn you about it but since it’s a good deed you may think that’s their business. Remember that God sees the intention as well. He searches the heart. There’s this Latin adage that says vox populi vox Dei meaning the voice of the people is the voice of God .
Listen to everybody then implement the good advice of people that mean you well only if it will not compromise your salvation.
If we study about Jesus very well, can it really help our relationship with him?
Yes but such study must be centered on personal encounter. Because if you are just studying what others have said about Christ, you are simply doing an intellectual exercise and not a Christian or spiritual activity. We have to study about Jesus to find out who He is for us.

More people are found on crusade grounds than Sunday masses.

Why is it that people look for Christ more when they need material gains than Spiritual growth?
It actually shows we still see Christ as a worldly king that came to solve all our problems and not to save our soul. A misplacement of priority and lack of the knowledge of afterlife. Many of us are yet to really believe that there’s heaven. We tend to be most concerned and comfortable with what we gain from Jesus in the world they have come to see here, as if they ever knew of this world before they entered it.

The same Peter that was called Satan, “get behind me Satan…,” received the power of the key.
Why Peter who received the power of the key and no other apostles?
A typical Nigerian man would say, since I am Satan, no wahala, carry your ministry and go, count me off. But the personality of Peter is someone who is ever ready to forget and ask for forgiveness. It’s an act of humility. And Jesus will always tell them, whoever that must be the greatest, must be your servant. Peter’s unassuming human character, not intelligence, won him the inspired favor of identifying CHRIST and receiving the power of the key. The only thing God had always wanted from us is to recognise His son Jesus as our saviour who comes from Him. Our ability to see this truth about Christ and to accept it can earn us the greatest opportunity in life just like Peter. 🏻
My beloved brothers and sisters, in order to receive God’s power, we must lower ourselves to pick up. Good will most times choose the weak to shame the strong. “He perfects the imperfect for his work”.

Peter is the head but he definitely need the eyes to see, the mouth to talk, the ears to hear, the nose to….
Since he is not working in isolation, what is the nature of their collaboration in governing the church? Especially in our present day Church. The Pope and the college of bishops?
Just as saint Paul said in his letter, the body is made up with many parts and the parts cannot function without each other so also is the church.
The pope needs other bodies to carryout his function perfectly.

The Pope has the Stamp that approves what was agreed by the whole Church, represented by the Bishops. Since the Church possess the key to the kingdom, is there anything that our leaders could say and it becomes clear that they are leading us astray?
Our Blessed Lord cannot have given them the key, if he foresaw any act of misdemeanor from the Church leaders. He knew them through and through even before they were born. That’s why he entrusted his church into their hands with the Power to bind and loose. Therefore we are encouraged to listen to the mystical body of Christ the Church for she will never lead us astray. Where the head, CHRIST is, there is the body, Church. The Church cannot lead us astray. We are not talking about the human personality of some priests, we are talking about the infallibility of the Pope, who in union with the college of bishops, is inspired by the Holy Spirit to make a decision that will govern the Holy Mother Church. In this area, their decision is final. We should also know when the Church speaks and when one of her leaders is speaking. The Church, we are meant to listen to her and not just one of her leaders. The Pope speaks but what was agreed as directed by the Holy spirit.

In conclusion, it’s good to know what others said about Jesus Christ, maybe from books, but it is best to have your own personal view of Christ, to have a personal encounter that defines who Christ is to you.
Let’s not neglect peoples opinion about us, even though it shouldn’t define who we are. The Church has been given the power to bind and loose, let’s remain in union and in obedience to this one holy church of God, and also pray for Her leaders.

We end with 3 question to meditate on;
1) who is Jesus Christ to you?
2) who are you to your neighbours?
3) who do you listen to, the Church with the key and built on rock or visionaries?

God bless you

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