It comes right after Christ predicts in Caesarea Philippi
his coming death on the Cross and Resurrection, and he states that this is the way of discipleship.
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?
It is only in hindsight that this scene at Caesarea Philippi
becomes important as the church emerges from its early roots in Palestine to become Christendom.
And although it is difficult to ascertain precisely where the carving took place and how and in what state the sculptures entered the region (fully carved, partially carved, or as uncarved blocks), the geographic proximity of Caesarea Philippi
to Tyre made this port city and the Tyre-Damascus road the most efficient route for the sculptures' importation.
It was when Our Lord took Saint Peter, the first Pope, to Caesarea Philippi
, where there is a large rock formation.
The passion predictions that flank this reading, along with the questioning of the disciples at Caesarea Philippi
, make it clear that we are pointing toward Jerusalem and the cross.
On this Sunday when the Gospel asks us about the true identity of Jesus, we find ourselves transported with the disciples to the road leading to the villages around Caesarea Philippi
begins by showing how Mark (Peter at Caesarea Philippi
, Mk 8:27-33), John (Martha and Mary at Bethany, Jn 11:17-27), and Paul (hymn to Jesus, Phil 2:6-11) make clear the strong connection between Christology and discipleship, while Jesus' response to his interrogation by the disciples of John the Baptist, "Are you the one who is to come?
From here we made visits to Mount Tabor, Nazareth, Cana, Caesarea Philippi
,with an unforgettable day on and around the Sea of Galilee.
Peter confesses, "You are the Messiah" (Matthew 16:16) in Caesarea Philippi
, a fertile area critical to the Roman Empire's control of Palestine.
It plays a much greater part in the body of the Gospel than is often allowed, for it is to the fore in the Nazareth speech, present at Caesarea Philippi
and the Transfiguration, expressed in the journey to Jerusalem, and prominent in the passion narrative.
My favorite scripture passage took on new meaning when, a couple of years ago, I was walking along the cliffs and caves of northern Israel in the area of Caesarea Philippi