Gospel Reflection for Sunday September 12th : 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time By Br Michael Moore OMI
Who do you say that I am?
When Jesus asks his friends in the gospel today, ‘Who do people say I am?’ they offer him a list of famous names from their own history and tradition; ‘John the Baptist,’ they said, ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ Jesus doesn’t seem to be too convinced by their answer. He is not interested in rumours or hearsay. He doesn’t want to hear what others say about him or what they have heard at the street corners or in the marketplace. Jesus wants to know what they believe about him. Peter speaks up on behalf of the group and boldly proclaims, ‘You are the Christ.’
Once Peter makes this declaration of faith, Jesus tells his followers that being The Christ comes with conditions. ‘He began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders, be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all quite openly.’ Jesus does not hide or make any secret of what is going to happen to him. Having just stated that Jesus is The Christ, Peter is not able to accept that Jesus his will suffer. Jesus quickly challenges Peter for his inability to accept that he will suffer, die and rise from the dead. To know Jesus personally is also follow the Christ who suffers and rises from the dead. He makes this clear when says to his disciples and to us, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let them take up their cross and follow.’
Jesus us invites us to know him personally and intimately. He looks at you and I today and gently but directly asks us, ‘but you, who do you say that I am?’ They are others who hopefully have led us to Jesus and introduced us to him. There may be books that we have read that have told us about Jesus and these are helpful and necessary. But eventually we each need develop our own personal relationship with Jesus. While this is a personal friendship with Jesus, it is not a private one. As our relationship with Jesus grows and deepens, we are also called to nurture our friendship with those around us. We come to others through Jesus, and he comes to us through them.
Jesus puts before us the same reality that that offered his disciples; he is The Christ, The Holy One God who will suffer, and that after three days, he will be raised from the dead. When Peter struggles to accept this Jesus challenges him. It’s as if Jesus is saying to him and to us today that we simply can’t follow Jesus on our terms and just accept the parts of his teaching that suits us. We can’t pick and choose the bits we like and ignore the rest. While Jesus is loving, forgiving and compassionate, he is at the same time demanding and challenging. When Jesus said to us, ‘come, follow me’, he never said that it was going to be easy! Again, He makes this clear when says to his disciples and to us, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let them take up their cross and follow.’
When Jesus looks at me today and asks, ‘but you, who do say that I am’, what is my response?
|Gospel Sunday September 12th|
|Mark 8:27-35 ©|
The Son of Man is destined to suffer grievously
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