Gospel Mark 8:27-35 The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.’ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’ He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. for anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.’
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you came into this world to redeem sinners. I hope in you, and in your power to transform my soul, by your grace, from sinfulness to holiness. Lord, I love you and offer you the longings of my heart to put you truly first in my life. I want to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to know you and to follow closely after you.
A Pop Quiz: Jesus asks his disciples a question completely out of the blue: “Who do people say that I am?” Christ really wants to know who his disciples thought he was. Yet he leads them by degree to the tougher and more committing questions. The first question – who do people say I am – provokes thought and is easy to answer; all the disciples participate in the answer. The second question requires something more. It involves that introspection and self-examination that closeness to Christ always provokes. Only Peter had the courage to respond. Like the disciples in the Gospel, throughout our own spiritual journey Christ will give us surprise examinations and pop quizzes – moments when we, too, will be asked to evaluate who Jesus really is for each of us.
Judging by God’s Standards: Like the disciples in the Gospel, the closer we draw to Christ, the more he reveals himself. Once the disciples know and accept Jesus as the Messiah, it is important they know the type of Messiah he is. Many misconceptions abound, and all conceive of the Messiah in terms that are all too human. He is not the political liberator who will cast off the Roman dominion and make life “easy.” Rather, he is the Redeemer of the human person. In no uncertain terms, Jesus makes it clear to Peter and the disciples that the Messiah is the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, who must suffer greatly and be rejected.
Bound to Christ by the Cross: Peter thought he was doing Christ a favor by trying to dissuade him from the suffering he predicted would be coming. Yet Peter received the surprise of his life. His well-intentioned but completely misinformed attempt got him the worst possible rebuke from Christ, “Get behind me, Satan.” Christ makes it clear that his disciples must be ready to follow in his footsteps. The path to salvation necessarily leads through the sorrow and joy of the cross.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, conform my heart to yours. Help me to value events and things the way you do. Help me love you above all things and be especially ready to follow you when it means a personal sacrifice or discomfort for me. Sustain me, Lord in my efforts to follow in your footsteps.
Resolution: Today I will accept difficulties with joy.
Click this link to Hear Bishop Barron’s Podcast on this week’s 2nd Reading from James-“FAITH PERFECTED BY LOVE”
Today’s second reading from the letter of James discusses the relationship between faith and love. We need a strong faith, but faith without love is lifeless so we must respond to grace and faith with acts of love.