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SEPTEMBER 12. Ord Time B. Wk 24 Sun. Mk 8. 27-35

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.’


I think timing has a lot to do with what we are being taught in today’s gospel, in that Jesus first asks his disciples who the people think he is, and he was told John the Baptist or one of the prophets.


And then he asked who his disciples thought he was, and Peter replied, “You are the Christ!”


It is only when Jesus believed they recognise him as the Son of God that he is then able to begin revealing to them the Father’s plan; -as his divinity is at the heart of everything that he knew was fast approaching; - and would test their faith!


So now Christ “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 Peter’s immediate reaction showed he still has a long learning process to go through before he understood what Christ’s mission was on earth; - “taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him.”


And Peter’s lessons began immediately when Christ rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s,” a statement that must have shocked Peter as it meant Christ had accepted his death was inevitable!


And what made the situation worse was Christ went on and emphasised his own followers would also have to embrace suffering; - “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.”


The disciples must have found these revelations extremely difficult! Christ was the Son of God; - and yet he was about to be crucified; - and buried; - and rise after three days! How his faithful followers must have struggled with all this; - after agreeing Jesus was the Christ?


Gospel Acclamation Galatians 6:14


Alleluia, alleluia!

My only glory is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,

which crucifies the world to me and me to the world.

Alleluia!


Second reading James 2:14-18 · If good works do not go with it, faith is quite dead


Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty’, without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.


This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds – now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show.’







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