Who do you say I am?
Nowadays, surveys and public opinion polls have grown in importance in social, consumer, political and policy research, and their value is increasing as researchers explore their potential to provide insights in combination with big data sources.
The role of public opinion polls and surveys on social, political and consumer behaviour have become more significant than ever. From big company to small business, from the political organisations to the non-profit organisations, public opinion and surveys are keys to success and sometime of survival of organisations: What do people think about us? What are they expecting from us? How do we change to make people satisfied with our organisation?
Correct me if I am wrong, or too innocent, when I say the above questions are on the meeting table of many companies which want to grow, to survive and to be successful.
Getting back to St Matthew’s Gospel for this Sunday, we are in chapter 16. We are in the middle of Matthew’s Gospel and in the central point of Jesus public ministry.
In the gospel today, it seems that Jesus wants to know what people and his disciples are thinking about him or thinking about who is he, or even what they thinking about his teaching and his message of God’s kingdom? That is why he conducted his own survey and the respondents are his disciples who speak on behalf of the community at the time.
There were only two questions to be answered from Jesus’s survey: The first is: “Who do people say that I am?” and the second question is: Who do you say that I am?” People’s perceptions are different: “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” However, Peter won everyone’s intention when he declared: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Wow, wow… that is the answer, the answer which Jesus and his small survey wanted to achieve; that answer confirmed that Jesus and his public ministry was on the right direction.
However, that is the answer from his disciples and the people around his time. Most importantly, with this Sunday’s survey questions; how are we going to answer as the disciples of Jesus in the 21th Century? Who do we say Jesus is?
In particularly, we are the church and faith community during this current coronavirus situation. There are a few survey questions which are related to us and help us to reflect on this Sunday Gospel: How did we see ourselves as the Church before the pandemic? How do we see ourselves as the Church during this lockdown? How are we going to see ourselves as the faith community at the post-Covid world? What would we say if Jesus asked each one of us ‘Who do you say that I am?’
Those questions are for us to ponder over this week.
At the practical and parish level, the parish of Camberwell, Balwyn Deepdene and Surrey Hills Wattle Park are also running a survey from this weekend, mainly focusing on the question ‘How would you like our parish to be?’ This would be something for us to spend our lockdown time doing and to put into practice what inspires us in this Sunday’s reading by responding to our parish’s survey.
May the Holy Spirit that inspired Peter in replying to Jesus “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”, also inspires and guides us throughout this time of uncertainty.